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About Us

A Tour of St. Michael's Church

By:  Theodore Pedeliski
Drawings by:  Mary Hackenberg Kennedy
Photographs by:  Angelique Gross

St. Michael’s Church

Founded in 1872 to serve French-Indian and pioneer white families,
St. Michael’s stands as the mother church for an area which embraced what is now
Grand Forks, Walsh, Traill, Nelson and Steel counties in North Dakota;
and also Polk and Red Lake counties in Minnesota.

This structure, built in 1909, is the fifth building to serve 
as St. Michael’s parish home. Renovated in 1985, and repainted in 2001,
its present décor resembles, in many ways, that of the original.In 1988, the U.S. Department of Interior officially enrolled 
St. Michael’s Church in the National Register of Historic Places.

Entering St. Michael’s Church, the mother church of the region, the visitor is struck with a sense of splendor, a scene that transcends the routine of daily life.  St. Michael’s is a structure of grand proportions and noble design; it evokes a special sense of the sacred, a recognition that is a House of God.  This is a feeling people of many generations would recognize; it takes us back to the days of the temple in Jerusalem.  It takes us back to the time of the early church.  Indeed, early liturgies called the church building “terribilis locis” (awesome place).  It was the aula Dei (the court of God) and the porta caeli or gateway ........ Click here to Read More and View Images

Entering St. Michael’s
The visitor to the City of Grand Forks is made aware of St. Michael's through the tall bronze topped bell towers which are visible from a considerable distance and which direct people to come to the church.  The structure is basically Romanesque........ Click here to Read More and View Images

Confessionals
Another sacramental feature of St. Michael's are the confessionals and reconciliation rooms.  Confessionals date back to the 16th century and the first were reported to be constructed by St. Charles Borromeo in Milan to provide secrecy for confessions.  Until the end........ Click here to Read More and View Images

The Nave
The faithful on entering St. Michael's pass through a second set of major church doors into the nave and the majesty........ Click here to Read More and View Images

The Sanctuary
The sanctuary or area of religious rites is crowned with a ribbed dome which architects call the apse.  The apse has the shape of a half dome which represents the dome of Heaven.  The sanctuary makes the faithful aware of the presence of God in three ways.  God's presence........ Click here to Read More and View Images 

Below the tabernacle there is a bas-relief of Christ and........ Click here to Read More and View Images 

Sacristy and Shrines
Many people have the misconception that sacristies are no more than dressing rooms which have........ Click here to Read More and View Images 

With the dedication of St. Michael's to an archangel and the many representations........ Click here to Read More and View Images

A prominent feature of St. Michael's is the Stations of the Cross which....... Click here to Read More and View Images, Part One and Part Two

The Stained Glass Windows
St. Michael's is fortunate, at least in the minds of many of the parishioners, to possess some of the finest stained glass windows made in America.  These windows were completed when artistic techniques....... Click here to Read More and View Images, Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Four

The Balcony
Below the large wheel window is the choir loft.  In monastic churches, choirs were located........ Click here to Read More and View Images

Repair, Renovation and Restoration
The present St. Michael's Church is over 90 years old.  Not surprisingly it has undergone several episodes of renovation.  The History Room in the........ Click here to Read More and View Images

The Angels of St. Michael's
In response to the question posed on page 32 of the "Sacristy and Shrines" portion, can you guess how many angels are represented in the church?........ Click here to Read More and View Images