Tradifying a church exterior
During the pontificate of Benedict XVI you have probably seen several examples of Catholic parishes that have restored or improved the interior of their churches, especially the sanctuaries. The New Liturgical Movement blog has featured several before-and-after photos, such as here and here.
Now there is an example of a parish that has greatly improved the exterior of its church. In a front-page article in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia's Arlington Catholic Herald, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Colonial Beach, Virginia, is profiled after investing five months and $325,000 to transform an early-1960s church into one more fitting for a rural Catholic parish.
For those who know the Diocese of Arlington, it is home to perhaps the ugliest collection of churches from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and even beyond. Experimentation, including just prior to the Second Vatican Council, led to churches in the round and semi-circle buildings that showcased the choir at ground level and minimized the distinction between sanctuaries and naves.
In recent years, pastors (often with the great assistance of more conservative assistant pastors) in the Diocese of Arlington have overseen the construction of new churches in the diocese that are cruciform in design. Others have hired traditional-leaning firms to redesign sanctuaries that were gutted or were never traditional to begin with. In addition to the costs involved with tradification, some of the priests have had to deal with the bishop there, who (as owner of all properties) has vetoed several proposals over the years for being too traditional (including a ban on new altar rails). N.B.: The same bishop prohibited the traditional Latin Mass until 2006. Today, nearly one out of every five parishes in the diocese has a traditional Latin Mass somewhere in the schedule as a result of priests taking their cues from the pope, and not just their local ordinary. Father Vincent Bork, the parochial vicar at Saint Elizabeth's pictured above, offers the traditional Latin Mass on Sundays and Thursdays at the mission church for the parish, Saint Anthony of Padua in King George, Virginia.
In this season of Advent, there is indeed great hope.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2012
Renovation: St. Thomas More, Scranton
We haven't shown a "before and after" church renovation for awhile and this one comes within the context of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish -- an Ordinariate parish in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the obvious sanctuary renovations, including the communion rail which was installed, a variety of other features were also tackled as part of this church purchase. You can read more about it in the parish newsletter.
TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011
Renovation: St. Peter the Apostle, Louisiana
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana have recently undergone some renovations after a hurricane flooded their parish church. They took the opportunity to make various changes to the church, including the addition of a communion rail, the re-location of the tabernacle to the centre of the sanctuary, an addition to the predella (a too frequently neglected aspect in sanctuary renovations) and the extension of the space in front of the altar to accommodate ad orientem celebrations.
One will note as well the use of the Benedictine arrangement.
Here are some before and after photographs.
KWTC: Indeed, there are many reasons for hope today. The darkest days of the 'spirit of Vatican II' chaos seem to be behind us now and we can move forward with the proper translation of the Council's documents. However, much damage has been done so the rebuilding process won't be quick nor easy. It's a shame so much money was spent 'wreck-ovating' many churches and thus are need of more money to fix them, but it's money that must be spent to fix the errors of the passing generation. The first step is to bring back the altar rail.