Discover the Protestant Response Upon Visiting a Catholic Church: Inspired by the Book of Kells

Welcome to our blog post where we delve into the intriguing topic of the Protestant response upon visiting a Catholic church, drawing inspiration from the mesmerizing illustrations found in the Book of Kells. Embarking on this exploration opens the door to a deeper understanding of the significant religious and historical elements that bridge the divide between these two branches of Christianity. Join us as we embark on a captivating journey that reveals the profound impact the Book of Kells has on igniting curiosity and fostering dialogue between different faith traditions. Let us dive into the enchanting world of art, faith, and shared reverence for this ancient manuscript.


Visiting a Catholic church as a Protestant can be a unique experience. It allows one to appreciate the similarities and differences between the two Christian denominations. In this article, we will explore the author’s experience visiting Old Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, and their reflections on its art, heritage, and faith. This journey was inspired by the renowned Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript that showcases the rich history of Celtic Christianity.

The Guide’s Knowledge and Empathy

Upon entering the church, the author was greeted by a knowledgeable guide named Kara. Despite being a Protestant, the author found Kara’s expertise on Catholicism both enlightening and accessible. Kara had a knack for answering questions without overwhelming the visitors with too much information. This made the experience more engaging and allowed for a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith.

Moreover, Kara’s empathetic nature was evident throughout the tour. She understood the complex dynamics of the author’s father-son relationship, as the author’s son accompanied them on the visit. Kara made sure to include the young boy in the discussions and fostered an environment where questions were encouraged. This personalized approach made the tour resonate on a more human level.

Celebrating Diversity in the Church’s Architecture

Old Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church was built to accommodate the diverse ethnic communities settling in Chicago, particularly Irish and German immigrants. The church’s design reflected this embrace of diversity. The author was captivated by the unity of design and art that seamlessly blended different cultural influences.

The tour showcased a variety of architectural styles, from Gothic to Romanesque, symbolizing the presence of multiple communities within the larger Christian church. This celebration of diversity within the church’s architecture highlighted the importance of unity amidst differences.

Celtic Heritage in Artwork and Motifs

One of the most striking aspects of Old Saint Patrick’s was its emphasis on Celtic Irish heritage. The author was in awe of the breathtaking artwork and intricate motifs displayed throughout the church. Symbols such as Celtic crosses, knotwork, and spirals adorned the walls, adding a layer of cultural richness to the overall experience.

The Book of Kells, with its vibrant colors and detailed illustrations, served as a significant source of inspiration for the church’s artwork. It was evident that the church aimed to celebrate and honor the Celtic Christian tradition. The author found solace in the connection between faith, history, and art that the church exemplified.

A Reminder of the Diverse Threads in the Christian Church

During the tour, Kara emphasized the importance of recognizing the diverse threads within the larger Christian church. Old Saint Patrick’s served as a powerful reminder that Christianity is not a monolithic entity but rather a tapestry woven from various traditions and cultures. This perspective encouraged the author to appreciate the richness of different Christian expressions and to foster a spirit of unity rather than division.

Looking Forward and Adapting to the Present

As the tour concluded, Kara left the author with a thought-provoking message. She spoke about the importance of looking forward and adapting to the needs of the present. Old Saint Patrick’s, despite its deep-rooted traditions, actively engaged with the modern world. The church embraced social justice initiatives and sought to address current challenges while staying grounded in its faith.

In this constantly evolving world, the author realized the significance of staying open-minded and adaptable, regardless of one’s religious background. It is the ability to learn from the past while embracing the present that allows faith communities to thrive and remain relevant.


Visiting Old Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church was a transformative experience for the author. Inspired by the Book of Kells, the journey highlighted the parallels and contrasts between Protestant and Catholic traditions. The guide, Kara, played a crucial role in creating an inclusive and informative atmosphere throughout the tour. The church’s celebration of diversity, Celtic heritage, and emphasis on adapting to the present left a lasting impression on the author. Ultimately, this exploration served as a reminder that faith is a dynamic and ever-evolving journey that transcends denominational boundaries.

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