Louisville's century-old St. James vies for National 'Churchpionship'

Louisville's century-old St. James vies for National 'Churchpionship'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – With March Madness coming to a close, competition lovers might be looking for something else to latch onto.

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Well, you're in luck because there's a thing called Church Madness 2017. Run by a consultant for Granda Liturgical Arts, an international workshop that works with different churches to enrich their interior designs, the competition is aimed at finding America's most beautiful church.

All eyes are on St. James Church in Louisville. In true competitive fashion, St. James has made the "National Churchpionship," against St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis.

Founded in 1912, the St. James Catholic Church touts a unique architectural feature -- the eye on top of its dome. It's an all-seeing eye that watches over its parish and is rumored to be one of only two in the entire world.

"We didn't get wind of this competition and that we were in it, and that we had made it, until we were already in the Sweet Sixteen," St. James Worship and Music Director Phil Hines said. "We are now one other church against us."

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Hines said he's proud to be a part of a church that has grown so much in recent years. With an increasing number of families joining both the parish as well as the St. James Catholic School, winning the "Churchpionship" would mean the church would get to put its name on the map.

Hines also said there's a lot of pressure to do well, especially with the state of sports in Kentucky this season.

"We've lost our Cardinals, the Cats didn't quite make it, WKU isn't there -- but St. James is in the competition," Hines said. "It still gives us something in our brackets to cheer for."

With all the excitement the competition brings, Hines said he hopes it brings even more joy to the parish.

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"No church is anything without the people who worship, and this is a great community," he said.

Hines added that worship can happen in a concrete house and it would still be meaningful. However, he said he's glad the beautiful architecture of St. James is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

There is still time to vote. Just click here.

Churches from Nampa, Idaho; Norwalk, Conn. and St. Louis rounded out the Faithful Four.

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