Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Aside from a few obvious botches, Conrad Schmitt has done their usual outstanding work.
The font in the middle looks silly (and silly is not good for a Cathedral). Chopping up the pews is a complete waste of money (and provides less seating). Is the communion rail still there? Anyone from Springfield?
The project isn't as bad as I had assumed, of course, given that there was approximately zero public input on anything but writing checks for the project, I think it is quite safe to assume that the lack of information was intentional.
Here's Immaculate Conception in all its glory from Mark Scot Abeln.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Long term friend of the Society of St. Barbara, Mark Scott Abeln has done it. His fantastic photos of Churches and liturgical elements have made it into print, and I cannot wait to get a copy.
Click here to see some samples
Click here to purchase
Here is the Press Release
BREATHTAKING PHOTOGRAPHY OF
LOCAL CHURCHES AND MONUMENTS FILL
CATHOLIC ST. LOUIS: A PICTORIAL HISTORY
William B. Faherty SJ Teams with Photographer
Mark Abeln to Capture Regional Catholic Heritage
ST. LOUIS, MO—The history of the Catholic Church in St. Louis is dominated by strong personalities and architectural grandeur. In Catholic St. Louis: A Pictorial History, rich text and photography capture the people and places that have defined Catholicism in a historic, and historically Catholic, city. Renowned historian William Barnaby Faherty, S.J., delivers concise historical sketches of the integral people and the landmark houses of worship; and photographer Mark Scott Abeln captures nearly forty different area churches in majestic fashion. From the eighteenth-century Holy Family Church in Cahokia to the overwhelming Cathedral Basilica to the modern St. Anselm’s in Creve Coeur, St. Louis’s churches are significant, not to mention spectacular. This coffee-table book truly presents Catholic St. Louis in all its splendor.
Look for Catholic St. Louis in bookstores and online. Information is available upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 644-3400.
About the AuthorsWilliam Barnaby Faherty S.J. has written more than forty books, including dozens on St. Louis history and the novels Call of Pope Octavian and A Wall for San Sebastian. Mark Scott Abeln is a St. Louis photographer whose collection appears on www.romeofthewest.com
Friday, July 31, 2009
One of the worlds great bookstores is having some financial flow issues. Here is Blair Kamin on the finances of Prairie Avenue Bookshop.
It really is a great bookstore, and I am not just saying that because they sell the heck out of Heavenly City (and are currently sold out, so I link to Amazon). It is more like a library inside, with collectors editions and print items all over the place. Wilbert and Marilyn Hasbrouck are the proprietors, and are also the most knowledgeable people in Chicago on a variety of subjects, including architecture. Beth Elfrig is a store manager, and also is up to the minute on architectural publishing.
I stopped in today and spoke to both Bill and Beth, who were both busily selling large volumes of architecture books. Prices are slashed 50%. Stock up and save.
The array of titles is bewildering an a little picked over. I conjured up some possible titles that are not selling for my own amusement (and also for the amusement of the store employees).
1) Mediocre Carpentry in Mt. Prospect of the Late 1970's. The Aspinite Edition
2) Home Sewage Diversion: An Introduction to Treating Your Own Wastewater
3) Spanish Colonial Piemaker: The Buildings of Baker's Square
4) Structural Paper Maiche for Northern Climates
5) Ed Dart and the Boredom of Unitarian Worship
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
First look given to the Tribune, rather than St. Barabara's. The Trib has been so sympathetic to the Church over the years, of course they get first digs.
Now about that altar and the modernism that does not belong in a Gothic Church.....
Sunday, June 28, 2009
High Masses, Coronations, Processions and the continuation of a 800 year devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
From the Chicago Tribune
When parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Shrine in Melrose Park decided to create gold crowns for statues of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, they donated to the cause by reaching deep into their hearts and memories.
Joe Rosa gave his grandfather's wedding band. Corinne Principe wept as she slipped her own wedding ring off her finger. Antonio Godinez removed the big Jesus medallion he wore close to his heart and plopped it into a collection basket.
In all, 15 pounds of gold was given, including a dozen gold watches, several rings, bangle bracelets, earrings, chains and medals. Carrying out a religious tradition from Southern Italy, the donated gold was then melted down and molded into two new 14-karat gold crowns appraised at $75,000.
The call for jewelry went out last July during the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and brought donations not only from the parish but from Italian Catholics across the nation. Struck by the devotion, the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rev. Claudio Holzer, e-mailed the Vatican to request a papal blessing for the crowns.
Few expected a response. But within a week, a Vatican aide approved and asked that the crowns be brought to Rome. Last month, Holzer and 35 parishioners traveled to Italy for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI where he blessed the crowns."This is very emotional for all of us," said Principe, who has been married for 41 years. "I didn't think twice about giving my wedding ring. I wanted a piece of me to be with her always, so she could pray for me and my family."
On Sunday, the Melrose Park church will hold a historic mass as it crowns the 5-foot statue of "La Madonna del Carmine" and the baby Jesus that she holds in her left palm. After a procession that takes the Madonna statue through the streets, three Chicago archdiocesan bishops will celebrate a pontifical high mass, which will be broadcast live on EWTN, the global Catholic network.
Only three other images of the Virgin Mary have been crowned with Pontifical Authority: Our of Lady of Mt. Carmel in New York City's East Harlem; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in New Orleans; and the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
As opposed to my own shaky photography, Mark Scott Abeln just keeps getting better at photo documentary of Church objects, icons, and architecture. Here Mark chronicles a Corpus Christ Procession in St. Louis, including this stunning shot of an Marian homage.
Take a look over there at Rome of the West, the visuals are brilliant.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Saturday, June 06, 2009
The Society of St. Barbara is delighted to announce the release of Catholic Church Architecture and the Sprit of the Liturgy, authored by our own contributor Prof. Denis McNamara.
Here Denis encourages "the reader to drink deeply from the wells of the tradition, to look with fresh eyes at things thought to be outdated or meaningless, and glean the principles which underlie the richness of the Catholic faith"
Distribution is expected in October of 2009. Pre-order is available now from Liturgy Training Press.Congratulations Denis McNamara on another outstanding work.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Crain's Chicago Business has a marginally thought-out article on the use of St. Joseph icons in home sales. There is a practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard of houses that are for sale.
Crain's polls a few sources for their opinion
"It's tacky; crass marketing," huffs Sister Anne Joan Flannigan, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, which operates the store. "It's making the statue an idol, as if it is magical." (note from JBP...Sr. Anne is a wonderful person, but not very reflective here on the context of Devotion)
Todd Williamson, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Divine Worship, says the church neither endorses nor prohibits the practice — or sale of kits at Catholic bookstores.
"There's no question that some people do that out of faith, others do it out of superstition or may not even know who St. Joseph is," he says.
A good friend of mine from Dwight, Illinois told me the history of the Keeley Institute, an alcohol treatment center that "cured" alcoholics by injecting them with gold dust (perhaps curing them by killing them first). As he stated, a devotion to St. Martin of Tours was certainly a more likely cure than the accepted scientific wisdom at the time.
I'll paraphrase Chesterton's Aquinas on the projection that St. Peter stands at the Gates of Heaven with a list of who is in and who is out. Aquinas said (something like) "Your belief can do no harm and serves the logic of the heavenly kingdom".
I think we have too few devotions today and should welcome more devotions to any and all of the Saints to assist us in our day to day lives.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
I drove by this beautiful building in Douglas Park yesterday. The neighborhood is not for the feint of heart, but has some benign neglect showing here and there.
The Douglas Park Auditorium is described as
A multipurpose Jewish institutional building that housed the Workmen's Circle, Jewish labor unions, and the Yiddish Theater. This building was later renamed Labor Lyceum. Today the building is the location of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith.
The Church did not look very busy, but it was a Friday. Architect anyone? I'll wager Marshall and Fox.
Monday, May 04, 2009
One of the side effects of an housing crisis (of sorts) is that houses stay on the market longer. Here are a few that I have walked through in the last 6 months or so on Sunday strolls with my kids.
The first one is at 232 Essex in Kenilworth. Georgian, with a dramatic entrance (and some huge crest over the entry portal like the hall to a Order of Malta Palace)
The grand entry way looked imposing. My daughter asked if princesses walked down those stairs, which is most likely true.
The bathroom had an interesting ceiling, with some type of plastic material that I had never seen before. It was an art-deco type.
The sunny library looked excellent for a spring nap. The ceiling again was above and beyond the typical.
Here is more info from the broker
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
WP Kinsella based his novel "Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa, a fitting place for building a historic structure that would bring out the best in devotional interest. Kinsella wrote about a shrine to baseball, but in reality, Dyersville is the home a truly remarkable structure, the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier. I was lucky enough to get to visit SFx this weekend, and came away impressed.
Built in 1888 by German (along with Luxemborgian) immigrants, this may be the smallest town in the US with a Basilica, as it was named by Pius XII in 1956. Seating capacity is 1200 (including the choir loft). I was informed that 850 people were at mass on Saturday at 4PM vigil, which was an average crowd (for a parish holding 5 Masses). A little math, that makes 4,250 people per weekend in a town of 4,000. Give or take 10% tourists, and this is a well-uitlized parish.
Excellent architecture historical profile here
There is humorous stained glass of St. Francis Xavier and the "Indians", in Iroquois looking garb. This is a must see Church, explemplifying the best in Catholic Architecture and preservation of the sacred.
The Basilica is about 20 miles west of Dubuque, which also has it's share of fine churches, and 40 miles from Galena, which is an architectural gem.
Dyersville is a small city with an active Catholic Community, with a tremendous churchgoing population, as well as a Catholic High School (Beckman) and Grade School (SFx).
A round of applause to the Community of St. Francis Xavier!
Friday, March 06, 2009
Some of my neighbors are campaigning against one of the Village Trustees who mangled the Mallinckrodt Convent project here in Wilmette. I don't like to take political positions on local issues at St. Barbara's but I will make an exception against the desecration of the sacred. Here is a pretty good run down
Four candidates have filed for three openings in the April 7th election to the Wilmette Village Board. The good fortune that this election is contested emanates from the move to re-elect one of the most controversial and destructive members of the board: Lali Watt.
Remember the Mallinckrodt (debacle)? Wilmette kool-aid drinkers back in 2001 swallowed Lali Watt’s community organizing arguments and voted to pay $24 million for a 17-acre park the village didn’t need. There were the Catholic voters who were promised retention of the historical chapel at Mallinckrodt College (since demolished); the soccer parents who were promised lighted fields (never happened), and the senior citizens who were promised a thriving senior housing complex - which has been in foreclosure since last September, owes $19 million on its loans and reports half of the units unsold. And lest we forget, there were the greenies who voted to save the trees. Remember waking up one morning to the front lawn on Ridge that was a muddy wasteland cleared of ancient trees? Yes, it was Trustee Lali Watt we have to thank for the secret deal with the Mallinckrodt developers (before the election) to clear cut all those beloved trees.
I'll vote against anyone who tears up Chapels. This project was botched and in many respects unethical. Everyone associated with it should be held accountable, which for a Trustee, is via the ballot box.
Here's some of the Stained Glass salvaged for sale.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Canon Matthew Talarico, Vice-Rector of the Institute of Christ the King is certainly one of the most pleasant guys in Cook County. At a recent function earlier this month he took me aside and said "there is someone you must meet" coming to the Shrine later this month for a presentation.
That someone, was none other than Dr. Denis McNamara from the Litrugical Institute at Mundelein Seminar coming to the Shrine for his brilliant presentation on architecural and the sacred Liturgy. I assured Canon Talarico that I was one of Denis biggest fans.
So today is the day, 3PM on the delightful South Side of Chicago at 6415 South Woodlawn Avenue. All are invited!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
I went to the Cathedral (Holy Name) yesterday. The fire was pretty much contained to one area of the roof. There were still a troop of firemen (smoking cigarettes and theorizing) who did a very fine job at not wrecking the Cathedral while putting the fire out. Fr. Matt Compton, formerly of my parish, and a Mundelein Seminarian studying with Denis McNamara was one of the heroes of the fire and has a new appreciation of St. Agatha the patron of protection against fire.
Here are a few snapshots.