Skip to comments.“Whoa!”: church renovation in Madison, Wisconsin ("Wow" seems more appropriate)
Posted on 03/12/2014 4:02:15 PM PDT by NYer
From The Catholic Herald:
That was the simple word of exclamation uttered by a young girl as she entered St. Mary Church in Fennimore on a recent Sunday morning.
While the words used by others in the church may have been more sophisticated that day, the feelings were more than likely similar to those of the young girls.
Upon entering the church that Sunday morning, parishioners and visitors got a chance to see the completed work of a restoration project to bring the church back to its original design from more than a century ago.
The project, which began work last summer, was aimed at returning the church to the beauty that can help the faithful perceive the mystery and splendor in the liturgy and serve as a visual catechesis of the faith, according to Fr. Miguel Galvez, parochial administrator of Queen of All Saints Parish, which includes St. Mary, along with St. John Nepomuc Church in Castle Rock and St. Lawrence OToole Church in Mt. Hope.
The restored church features a mural of Our Lady Queen of Heaven — the patroness of the parish — and paintings of angels to emphasize the importance of the sanctuary. The co-patrons of the parish community, St. John Nepomuc and St. Lawrence OToole, also appear in the mural.
A high altar, inspired by the churchs original altar, includes a statuary of the crucifixion of Jesus, as well as statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two side altars honor Mary, the Virgin Mother, and St. Joseph.
A freestanding altar features a hand-carved Last Supper image. There are also newly-installed altar rails.
On Sunday, March 2, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison presided at the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Church to dedicate the new altar.
How proud you must be and how proud I am about the restoration of beauty in this church, Bishop Morlino said during his homily. It is impossible to come into a beautiful church like this and not realize the beauty of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, he added.
He called the parishioners a beautiful people with a beautiful house, not only for the magnificence of the churchs interior, but also for their works of charity. The love of Christ is present in the Eucharist and then takes flesh in your individual acts of kindness and charity to others.
Read the rest.
View more photographs of the restoration at the parish website. You can see a closeup below. The results won’t be to every taste; frankly, I think there’s a fine line between re-doing a church and overdoing it. Sometimes, less is more. But the care and attention devoted to this are impressive. And the restoration clearly reflects a different approach to church and a more formal style of worship.
One observation: I was surprised to see the baptistry located in the sanctuary. The USCCB document “Built of Living Stones” recommends placing the font closer to the entrance to the church:
“Because of the essential relationship of baptism to the celebration of other sacraments and rituals, the parish will want to choose an area for the baptistry or the font that visually symbolizes that relationship. Some churches choose to place the baptistry and font near the entrance to the church. Confirmation and the Eucharist complete the initiation begun at baptism; marriage and ordination are ways of living the life of faith begun in baptism; the funeral of a Christian is the final journey of a life in Christ that began in baptism; and the sacrament of penance calls the faithful to conversion and to a renewal of their baptismal commitment. Placing the baptismal font in an area near the entrance or gathering space where the members pass regularly and setting it on an axis with the altar can symbolize the relationship between the various sacraments as well as the importance of the Eucharist within the life and faith development of the members.”
That church is absolutely gorgeous—and reminds me of how Catholic Churches used to look.
Thanks for posting ..
Gorgeous. I’d love to see churches bring back the communion rail.
WOW! They put in a Communion Rail!!!
There’s a pipe organ in the one church nearby.
But it doesn’t work as it has not been serviced in half of forever.
Our church, St. Thomas in Coeur d’Alene, ID, is beautiful.
Yup..first thing I noticed...
Beautiful! I hope this is the start of a trend!
Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Chaldean churches etc are spectacular.
I was at an Eastern (Romanian) Orthodox church in Detroit a while back and they don’t leave a square inch uncovered. The priest explained that the church is like a physical representation of a soul and every fiber of a believer’s being should be dedicated to praising, thanking, and worshiping God. He said that the church reflects that.
I’m Protestant so plain and humble is what I know but I really like the artistry of the Orthodox churches.
I LOVE the old design so much better. Many Protestant churches should do the same...bring back the old style that is. The wood work is so gorgeous and we lost much of it.
Wow! and Double Wow!
Do I notice lots and lots of pre-Vatican II architecture?
Am I off-base to question whether the money that went toward this remodeling should’ve gone to feed the poor, the sick, and the hungry?
Or perhaps missionary work in other countries. Many good uses for an abundance in the coffers.
You would be right in line with Judas Iscariot.
Not that the “before” is bad at all...but wow. Beautifully done.
Right, let’s allow our church buildings to fall into disrepair so people like you can get what you want (no more Catholic churches).
Megabucks from the Church already go to feed the poor, the sick, and the hungry
The renovation was likely paid for with donations from Benefactors. Their private donations would have been expressly given for the renovation project..
To take that money and use it for another purpose would be deceptive, and a misuse of money given for the sole intent of the renovation.
I love seeing Churches that look like Churches, not the cold sterility of a hospital in the shape of a shoe box.
I believe the Bible has several verses about giving God our First fruits.
Thanks for the non-jerk answer. That makes sense.
The church is STUNNING. Love it.
The church in our town is a very modern structure-—not my taste at all—but I guess it serves its purpose.
Can you tell I’m old—LOL!
I’m sure God is impressed. /sarc
It's the way a Catholic Church should look! Call me old fashioned but I prefer the old and true.
Me too, I have seen to many remodels that I could only describe as modern crapulous.
This church is beautiful now. I can’t stand modern churches, or cold sterile ones. The dichotomy between Protestant and Catholic churches is that Protestant ones are cold and sterile, but the music is lush and gorgeous (the hymns), and the Catholic churches are often beautiful, but the music (with the exception of Gregorian chant), in particular the hymns, stink. Too bad there can’t be a blend of the two.
“Who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?” -Romans 11:34
There’s no question that Catholic churches could use a renovation in the music department.
The Catholic hymn that always cracks me is Let us drink bread together on our knees. The second verse is Let us drink wine together on our knees.
It just hits me as funny and I have to suppress at least a grin as we are singing it.
It wouldn’t bother me at all to use some of the old Protestant hymns in Mass. Many of them are lovely and have nice messages—Like the oldy “What a friend we have in Jesus”.
I have heard those described as wreckovations.
Wreckovation is ok, but I think my term is more descriptively correct, I’ve seen it done to more than one church around me.
So glad to see this work of beauty and love.
Completely off-base. No money should have been spent on wreckovating the church in the first place. Every penny spent on restoring it to what its original parishioners DONATED to have it look like is a wise spending of money.
I am convinced there is (or should be) a very special place in hell for people that reduce places of worship to architectural obscenity.
“Let us break bread together on our knees” is a black spiritual song. It is not a Catholic hymn.
Actually, I think fervor for "acts of beauty" and "acts of charity" go hand in hand: they spring from the same generous hearts, who truly want to fulfill the Second Great Commandment as well as the First.
Plus, people of modest means give, willingly, for a beautiful sanctuary in which to enshrine God's Word and Sacrament. It's been truly said that St. Patrick's in New York was built by the $5 donations of house maids, cops and taxi drivers. They wanted the best, the most splendid and magnificent, to go to God.
In fact --- do this -- google Venerable "Pierre Toussaint," and read about the Haitian freed slave and hairdresser who help build Old St. Patrick's on Mott Street. He was stylist to some of the most stylish of New York's elite, and he used his earnings in the early 1800's to help other freed slaves, to educate orphans, to care for the sick and homeless, and to raise high the arches of New York's original cathedral on Mott Street. He's a wonderful example of an uncommon "common man" who was delighted to help "God's poor," and delighted to make His altars magnificent.
Lovely, also nice to see the return of the communion rail.
‘”Give me back my felt banners!” Said no one ever.’
The very same alters can be found at Sacred Heart in Conway, MO.
The very same alters can be found at Sacred Heart in Conway, MO.
The "church" already does more charity for the poor than all other non-church charities combined.
it’s been sung many times in my church—which is a nearly all white, some Hispanic area.
You are right. St Thomas is magnificent.
** alters **???
Moravian Church Bethlehem PA
Interesting blog here on church buildings........
You just described much of my church. The newest section where there is a lobby and gymnasium has no decor to speak of, they don’t even allow bulletin boards, artwork, or crosses. It looks like a jail, school, or some other institution.
Almost as if they are ashamed to show people they are a church.