Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Baron Haussmann's Avenue de la Grande Armée?

The Bourgeoisification of Paris culminated in Baron Haussmann's renovation of the city, building a signature three story, such as the one shown here.

Except the one shown here is at the convent at Our Lady of Peace, on Chicago's South Shore, which is much more beautiful than Paris, because of the unobstructed views of Lake Michigan (ignoring the bus stop in front of Our Lady, please)

Joseph McCarthy's Our Lady of Peace, "The Blue Church", championed by none other than Loyola University's renowned Professor Frank Covey Jr., is a sublime testimonial to the quest for Peace following WWI.

Monday, May 22, 2006

St. Rocco di Simbario

The Feast of St. Rocco each year on the second Sunday of August at the former Santa Maria Incoronata, now St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission in Chinatown. The Suntimes had some good pictures today from the Church. (Ignore the unflattering story please)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pop a Cork! Depression is over. Big win for the Home Team.

Heavenly City has won the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award given by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Congrats Denis and James, and also to our publisher LTP and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

To celebrate, I publish one of the unprinted proofs that we used to frame up the project. Makes you glad Jame Morris did the final photography, eh?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Depression hits Wilmette

To add company to Denis Mc's misery in Steubenville, while walking around central Wilmette this afternoon, I decided to call on every church I walked by, and take some interior photographs. There are some Prairie Beauties, The Community Church of Wilmette and First Congregational; a Gothic Masterpiece (most likely Joseph McCarthy's) High Anglican Styled, Trinity United Methodist (pictured above right), and the English Country Episcopalian St. Augustine's (pictured above left).

None of these are open.

None of them answered the door when I rang.

This is perhaps the least likely village in America for a homeless person to wander around, and the doors are locked tight.

The community is loaded with loot, the churches are masterpieces, and they are absolutely NOT open to the public. So much for the redeeming nature of a church.

I am contemplating a call to (the very Anglican) Andrew Lloyd Weber to ask the Open Churches Trust to prod the Protestants in Wilmette to get their church doors open. I predict an answer along the lines of "tell those heretics to open up and accept Christ". Will keep you informed.

To add to the universally depressing nature of my post, the Wilmette Catholics are also flunking at ministering to the public; I just picked today to visit our brother churches. Here is one currently very sad Wilmette convent, in its Glory Days. Perhaps Lord Lloyd Weber can give the Jesuits a rap on the knuckles while he is at it.

New Cathedral for Steubenville

The Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio has announced the selection of architects for its new cathedral which will be formed out of five closing parishes. After interviewing several firms including Franck, Lohsen, McCrery of Washington, DC, the diocese chose the local firm of Meacham and Apel. The firm has done a good amount of work in the area, particularly in retail and industrial design as well as several churches. A detail of one of their Episcopal churches is shown here. Though plans of the proposed catehdral have not yet been released, the programmatic requirements have been released.

It is sad to see that another major cathedral commission is going to turn out to be a mediocre project. From what I am told, the architects have a good track record and are known for being very professional. It is evident, though, from the work on their web site, that they don't really understand traditional architecture very well, though their buildings do give a suggestion of the tradition at a quick glance. Their architecture is quite deficient in terms of real traditional work, being a skin-deep pastiche of pasted on moldings which lack traditional structural logic and proper knowledge of profiles. It is difficult to imagine that they will suddenly develop some more design skill before they release the cathedral designs. With so many really talented traditional architects out there, it is a shame to see that the building commission settled for less than they should have.

Another mediocre design firm, another lost opportunity.

Holy Trinity Frescoes

Holy Trinity has restored the magnificent fresco behind the altar. The previous eggyolk is nowehre to be seen, instead a quite wonderful lirtugical scene. Holy Trinity has also added beautiful brass domes to its stunning towers.

Next time you are driving down the I90-94, bless yourself with a visit to this Polish Beauty.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Churches and Chapels of Kenosha

In an occassional series, coinciding with the summer season in (the home of Orson Welles) Kenosha, Wisconsin, I will post a pictoral description of different churches in the "Peoria of Lake Michigan", Kenosha. Er, is that a compliment? Well, yes, from an Architectural and Cultural sense, Kenosha is very beautiful (so is Peoria). While the mainstream press is still pounding away at the rust belt with 30 year old information, Kenosha has virtually no unemployement, a beautiful lakefront development, good schools, and a growing population.

Yesterday, I went to mass at St. James the Apostle, founded in 1882. Wonderful marketing here,
"If you are searching for a modern liberal parish with dancers, clowns and balloons, look elsewhere"
"You are entering the house of the Lord. Please no beach attire, flip flops, or bathing suits"

draws a full house on Saturday Vigil and Sunday Mass, by not bending to those demanding a light touch from the Church.

The Church interior reatains its communion rail, statuary, high altar, and many of its sermons from the days before Vatican II. The stained glass looks very much like a stylish Ralph Lauren display, with unique but traditional fonts and geometric representations. I noted the Christian Shamrock in many windows honoring Irish people and causes. The congregation tends to kneel and stand at different times, which the priest accomodates with true liberal Catholicism.

If you are anywhere in the Chicago area, this is worth the trip. Outside of the Latin Mass, this is one of the most traditional Churhes in the Midwest.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Anglican Use Conference, June 5-6, 2006

If anyone out there in the blogosphere will be in Scranton in early June, be sure to drop in on the second annual Anglican Use Conference being put on by the national Anglican Use Society and the local, St. Thomas More Society of St. Clare Parish, Scranton. And be sure to say hi to me, as I'll be there, too.

For those of you new to the blog, the Anglican Use Society promotes the Pastoral Provision, a papally-approved canonical process (John Paul tested, John Paul approved) by which former Episcopalian parishes can be brought over en masse to Rome while preserving the legitimate diversity of their liturgical traditions. For that matter, it also has the additional luster of being the only form of the Roman Rite currently in use which has a decent English translation.

I'm actually one of the speakers. I will be giving a presentation on my penultimate project as a Notre Dame architecture student, a hypothetical design for an Anglican Use city parish in Chicago, in a manner which squares with the conference's theme, "Conversion to Catholicism." I hope to discuss in particular the way the building symbolically points back to the Anglican Use's mingled Roman and English roots.

While I'm not listed yet on the schedule--there was a last-minute re-shuffle--you can have a gander at the rest of the the rest of the speakers at the Society's website. I'll be presenting the evening of Monday the 5th, 7 PM. The slot before Cardinal Dulles. I'm not boasting--it's just the way things worked out. It's a great honor--and a little daunting, too. I guess that makes me the warm-up act for the Cardinal. It's just a relief I'm not coming after him!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The ICRSP Strikes Again!

The supremely awesome (to use the canonical term) new bishop of Kansas City, Robert Finn, has recently re-opened Kansas City's shuttered oldest church as a special Latin Mass parish. With himself as pastor and none other than the priests of the Institute of Christ the King as the staff. As is their typical practice, the Institute's taking on a bit of a white elephant as the church needs a fair amount of renovation (I think the building's not open yet, and masses are being held at a neighboring parish), but knowing them, they'll pull it off. Info on mass times and donations can be found here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Beauty Returns in New Catholic Church

A new church is in the planning stages in Leawood, Kansas which embraces the best of the Catholic tradition and yet is very much a church of today. St. Michael the Archangel Church is being designed by David Meleca of Meleca Architects of Columbus, Ohio in association with liturgical and theological consultant Denis McNamara of the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary. The new church will seat about 1400 people at maximum occupancy and will provide small chapels for private prayer, a choir loft, a large narthex and an octagonal baptistery. The design is in its final stages of development and groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2007.

It may sound like a Restaurant

But, it keeps getting nominated for Book Awards. "Heavenly City" has been nominated for a Midwest Book Award. I am completely biassed in its favor, but for an independent publisher, such as LTP, this is one slick book. It does not look like a brochure you find at a tourist site, rather a grand celebration of artistic and architectural tradition.

Richard John Neuhaus likes it too.

Quiz in the Loop

Here is a shot I took a few weeks back. It is within a public venue in the Loop. The room is a Prairie Gem, though with an Italian Fresco painted on the barrel vaulting.

It is strangely out of place in its setting. The setting has no shortage of great Chicago interiors. Now, if the place was dry inside, they might be around for another 100 years, but this place has buckets on the floor.

For a Hi-Res photo of a Great Chicago Church, identify this venue!

Nearly a fine photograph

Back to Bohemia, was cleaning my camera and came upon this shot. This is the crematorium at the Bohemian National Cemetery on a fine spring day.

Before you start thinking that John Powers is a good photographer, take note of Bob the caretaker leaning over in the background.