Mother of God parish was founded in 1841 when approximately 30 German Catholic families recruited Fr. Ferdinand Kuhr to come to Covington. The new church of the Annunciation of the Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God became the second Catholic parish in the city. The present church building was constructed in 1870-1871 in the Italian Renaissance basilica design. In addition to the descriptions below, you can view our church tour photo gallery. For even more details about the church and its architecture, purchase our guidebook.
The five large murals across the front depict the joyful mysteries of the rosary. They were executed in 1890 by parish member Johann Schmitt. Schmitt was an early teacher of Frank Duveneck, and his work is in the Vatican.
The large stained glass windows at the ends of the transept were imported from the Royal Bavarian Establishment for Ecclesiastical Art, Mayer & Co., Munich in 1890. The one on the east side depicts the Immaculate Conception, and the one on the west the Assumption. The art windows along the sides of the church present the story of Mary in the upper panels, while the lower panels show the Old Testament foreshadowing of the events.
Five windows facing the front of church -– two in the lower towers and three over the entrance doors — were executed by the Riordan Stain Glass Studios of Covington. They were commissioned by the fifth pastor, Fr. Edward Klosterman to match the style of the Bavarian windows in the rest of the building.
The tower clocks were installed in 1875. They are 110 feet from the floor and 8 feet in diameter.
Litany of Loretto
The decorative frescoes by Wenceslaus Thien are noted for their design and color harmony. The artistry of Krienhagen above the windows includes titles for Mary in German from the Litany of Loretto.
The large crucifix behind the main altar is the work of a Covington sculptor, Ferdinand Muer. It was blessed in 1871 and originally installed at the communion rail.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are the work of Paul Deschwanden, a local artist. They were installed during Lent in 1872.
The organ was installed in 1875 by Fr. Peter Teutenberg, the second pastor. A Koehnken and Grimm, it was considered one of the finest in the West.
The sound system at Mother of God is designed to amplify not only the spoken word but also the complex frequencies that are present in the multiple tonalities of music. For a detailed description, click here.
The brother-pastors William and Henry Tappert are buried at the altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the west rear of the church.
Shrine Altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the altar was received by Fr. William Tappert from Pope Leo XIII in private audience August 22, 1882. Oil paintings of the Tapperts done by Anna D. Shea in 1904 hang under the choir loft. William, the third pastor, 1879-1907, is on the west side; Henry, the fourth pastor, 1907-1929, on the east. Together, they established the church as a center of music and visual arts.
The communion table and pulpit are the work of Dannenfelser. One panel of the original pulpit is incorporated into our new baptismal font near the main door. The Schroder brothers installed the wood-carved altars in 1890-91. The earlier baptistry at the east rear of church dates to 1929 and was a gift of Fr. Henry Tappert in his golden jubilee year.
Main and Side Aisles
The German Mettlach tile main and side aisles were laid in 1921, the same year in which the Carrara angels with holy water bowls in the back of church were given to the parish.
The stone statues of Saints Peter and Paul and the two mythological lions in front of the church were executed by the Mayer Royal Art Institute, Munich.