AS A LIFE-LONG LUTHERAN, I’m mostly unfamiliar with patron saints of the Catholic church, even though my husband, now Lutheran, grew up Catholic.
So when I happened upon the majestic Church of St. Wenceslaus rising above the east end of New Prague’s Main Street, I had to research the saint whose carved image guards the impressive columned front entry.
St. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia from 921 until his murder in 935, is considered a martyr for the faith and is hailed as the patron of the Bohemian people and the former Czechoslavakia.
The selection of this saint for the New Prague congregation is fitting for a community with strong Czech roots. Founded in 1856, the Church of St. Wenceslaus is the oldest Czech church in Minnesota. It is now part of the New Prague Area Catholic Community.
This duo towered brick church is stunningly beautiful. I paused numerous times while photographing the exterior simply to admire its artful construction. Churches aren’t built like this any more.
My single regret was finding the doors locked on a Sunday afternoon. This was not unexpected; most sanctuaries are locked now days. I could only imagine the lovely stained glass windows I would find inside, along with more statues of patron saints and worn pews.
Being Lutheran, I am intrigued by aged Catholic churches which are often significantly embellished with ornate details and religious art. This is so unlike most Lutheran churches. I appreciate both, wherein I find solace and peace. And perhaps that is the reason I seek out churches to photograph. Photographing them connects me, in a visual way, to God.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling