Centered at the corner of North County Road and Sunrise Avenue on Palm Beach, FL is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, St. Edward Catholic Church. According to their website the land was originally purchased as three (3) lots in 1926 for $80,000. After breaking ground on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1926, the first Mass (a Midnight Mass) wasn’t held until December 25, 1926. The church was officially dedicated as the “Church of St. Edward” on February 13, 1927 by Patrick Barry, D.O., Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Augustine.
I came to know St. Edward through stories from my husband and his family. Stories of how their parents were married there in 1946 not long after meeting on the beach at the end of WWII. And, more stories of how the Kennedy’s attended church when they visited their “Palm Beach Compound.”
When you first walk through the massive bronze doors there is an immense feeling of quiet and peace. Before entering the sanctuary, you pass through a set of wooden gates, each post flanked with beautifully hand carved cherub faces. If you look up you’ll see a cross atop the entry.
The main altar, the “Alter of the Sacred Heart” is made of Carrara marble spanning over 40 feet in height. A mural of the twelve apostles, capped by a depiction of the crucifixion encases the alter as a reminder of Christ’s journey in this world.
One element I love about churches are the stained glass windows. I’m always intrigued with the artist’s detail in telling a story.
There are two (2) chapels that flank each side of the vestibule, one dedicated to St. Theresa and the other to St. Anthony. The church was undergoing renovations when I took these photos so I was only able to enter the St. Theresa chapel. A quaint chapel with a beautiful marble alter, gently lit by both the sunlight beaming through the stained glass windows and the bright red prayer candles.
A Spanish Renaissance design, the church with two (2) towers is just as beautiful on the outside with the sanctuary and the other buildings framing the courtyard. It’s simple, with lush, green St. Augustine grass. Centered in the middle of the courtyard, facing the street is a beautiful, patina statue. With her head slightly bowed and the palms of her hands outwardly stretched, it’s almost as if she is calling you to her and to the church so you can find comfort and peace.
Though raised in the Baptist religion, I continue to be drawn to the Catholic faith through the traditions that can be found in the longevity of their churches. To me, they represent much of why I started the “Steeples I Have Chased” series, because they are the foundation to the communities they were built to support.
Source: St. Edward Church