Church Madness 2017: Faithful Four

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Full BracketEast Regional (3/13)South Regional (3/14)Midwest Regional (3/15)West Regional (3/16)Theological 32 (3/19)Stunning 16 (3/22)Ecclesiastical 8 (3/26)Faithful 4 (3/30) • National Churchpionship (4/3)

Click to play soundtrack while reading:

Welcome to the Faithful Four, the penultimate round of Art & Liturgy’s Church Madness! 

This year the last four competitors are worthy contenders but unlikely finalists, each having overcome more famous churches from bigger cities. In the end, that’s what this contest is all about — to take a lighthearted look at the incredible beauty of Holy Mother Church right here in the United States, and to spotlight some truly beautiful parishes that may be new to you.

It’s interesting that among the final four, two were recently restored. Another is undergoing restoration now. Another is a brand new building. I think this is proof that our commitment to seeking what the true and beautiful matters now more than ever. And judging by the sheer number of votes, this commitment has a huge effect on parish life.

Enough with the NERD STUFF. Let’s get to voting! We need winners and losers, people!

Make sure to vote in both matchups! The only way this competition works is if everyone votes in all the polls for their most beautiful church. Don’t just vote for your own church and leave. (Looking at you, Nampa.)

Finally, feel free to, you know, explore some of the other posts on the site. I write throughout the year and if nothing else, the pictures are pretty. Here are a few selected posts I enjoyed writing:

• Art History for Normal People: the Gothic period
• Great, Robust, American Vestments Extravaganza (GRAVE): Chasubles
• “Nothing Else Matters” — why this blog even exists, and why you exist
• Why do we bow at Mass? And what does it have to do with birds in sacred art?

Updated bracket:

CM 2017 Bracket 4 THUMB
Click to view full-size.

All polls close Sunday, April 2, at 11:59 pm Central Time. Click images for larger views.


St. Mary Church
Norwalk, Connecticut
— 360º panorama here


St. Francis de Sales Oratory
St. Louis, Missouri
—360º virtual tour here (caution: autoplays audio, but it’s awesome organ music)





St. James Church
Louisville, Kentucky
— 360º panorama here


St. Paul Church
Nampa, Idaho





  1. So glad an Idaho Church has been featured this year! Other Idaho Churches for future years could be St. Mary’s, Boise, ( they have a beautiful door, Holy Apostles, Meridian (, St. Gertrude’s, Cottonwood ( the only religious mother house in Idaho and Sacred Heart Mission, Cataldo (, the oldest building in Idaho and first Native mission.

    • Yes they are all beautiful. However, Hopefully Saint Pauls in Nampa , Idaho will be in the top two representing Nampa and Idaho.

  2. I was at St. Francis de Sales Oratory for the Ordinations of four American seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King a few years back. The Oratory was the perfect heavenly setting for that awesome ceremony.

  3. While all of these Church’s are beautiful, I favor the ones who Alters are facing the proper way…not towards the people.

  4. Saint Mary’s does the pre-Pius XII Holy Week, so it wins the vote for traditional liturgy, although St Francis is a more beautiful edifice.

  5. St. James is where I made my first communion and confirmation as a child. I always liked the eye on the ceiling. This church has came a very long way since I was a child. It used to be carpeted when I was younger. Over the many years it has become a very beautiful church.

  6. My father grew up in St. Francis de Sales and even though we lived in the suburbs, our family attended Midnight Mass there growing up. It really is a work of art with all of the craftsmanship that you don’t see in architecture anymore. When I was dating my husband I mentioned that if I ever got married I’d like to be married there. He made arrangements with the priest at the time to propose to me in the Church and a little less than a year later we were married there. It is an absolutely beautiful place in my heart.

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