Thursday, May 10, 2012


(If you click on the photos you might get a better and clearer view)
This first photo is probably between 1905 to 1915 of Saint Joseph Cathedral (that's what's written on this vintage postcard and I'm sticking with that story:)

This photo of the same cathedral, I mean, church, was taken around 2008 or 2009, some 100 years later:

List the changes you see and number them in your comments.

And just to make things more fun, of the two photos, which are "before" and "after?"


qwikness said...

1. Electricity
2. Speaker system

Vonito said...

well Father, from the picture of the 2012 church. . . the pulplit and the communion rails are removed (why?) and the high altar seems higher than the old one. Also there is a portable altar

P.S., what's the red thing by the angels from the old picture?

Templar said...

I question the date on the post card becsue it seems the Marble Altars are in place, which I "thought" were installed in 1918 to replace the wooden altars damaged in a fire, but I could just be off a few years on that date. But on to the game.

These differences are written from the perspective of what's different in the first picture from the second.

1) Altar Rails in place
2) Lighting different
3) Paint Scheme different
4) No table Altar
5) No sound system
6) Wooden Ambo, also raised
7) I can't see any chairs on the altar
8) Curtains in alcoves to left and right of Altar. It's possible the Altar was attached to the back wall at this time.
9) If I'm right about the altar being attached, you would have entered the Sacristy from a door on the left of the Sanctuary, but you can't see it in the post card.
10) The thing over the Ambo, can not tell what that is, but it's obviously different.
11) Arch Angel statues in front of alcove curtains instead of where they currently are.

As for the bottom 2 pictures, based solely on the fact that the top picture shows construction in progress, I'm going to guess the Top one is the after picture, and the bottom one the before. No doubt the bottom picture is a Church that was either built after V2, or wreckovated after V2, and the top picture is either a restoration or a renovation depending on when the Church was built.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar wins the prize, but he's wrong on the altars in the post-card--look more closely, these three altars are not the current altars of the church, but the original wooden ones painted to look like marble. Wooden altars of this type, a cheap solution to the more expensive and more difficult to install marble altars where quite frequently used in this period of time. In fact at King Richard's yesterday, there were many of them and sets of them still in tact!
The opulent restoration is the now and the before is the post-Vatican II wreckovation, although not terribly awful. In fact if you look at the before picture of the side altars, these are wooden altars and I presume the main altar would have match these and is the one that was removed maybe in the 1950's prior to the council as the old altar in the before picture is against the wall but of the type that would have been used in the 1950's. But actually the wooden side altars are splendid although the after picture is truly stunning and breath-taking and it's hard to believe that these are the same churches.

The angels in the post card of St. Joseph are not the same angels we have now, but look to me to be plaster angels that the current angels replaced when the new marble altars were put in. The shell over the pulpit is an acoustical shell for projecting the words of the sermon of the priest as there was no sound system then. The alcoves have curtains as these are hopen to the hall way behind the altar which were walled-up I presume when the new marble altars were installed.
If you look closely, the side altar on the left is still the Sacred Heart altar but with a non-marble Sacred Heart statute and on the right is Mary's altar but Mary is the Mary we just replaced in the Church in the corner of the church directly in front of the Sacred Heart chapel.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Let's see...ummm...the Angels and Saints are smiling in the first picture and they are frowning in the second...I think I see an Angel actually throwing up in the last one...

Bill Meyer said...

Although you've already made the award, I would note:
1. Painted statuary in the old; unpainted in new.
2. Unpainted architectural detail in the old; painted, detailed in new.
3. Position of angels is changed; new angels are magnificent.
4. Chairs on the right in new.
5. More steps, incrased elevation in new?

Carol H. said...

Father, I noticed in the 'before and after' pics that the stained glass windows were missing during the renovation. Were they removed for releading, or were they replaced with clear glass? Just curious.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't know anything about the renovation and did not notice the windows missing until you pointed it out; either these are being restored or they are getting better ones from a closed church which is quite possible.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Bill, of course the post card is more than likely a hand painted colorization of a black and white photo. But indeed, the statues are white in the new because these are beautiful marble statues whereas the others are painted plaster statutes. There is increased elevation for the free standing altar in front of the old so that the new altar is at the same height as the altar part of the one. In fact the old marble altar had three steps leading up to it, but with the new elevation it only has one step, so the sanctuary is two steps higher than it was. Priest "sedala" is new as it the ambo and the free standing altar. The new marble ambo and altar though are of Cararra marble as the old altar is but the free standing saw-horse marble altar that was below the old altar and the ambo were not Cararra marble but Georgia marble and in no way approximated the old altar at all.

Bill Meyer said...

Father, even though the postcard is undoubtedly hand tinted, it is pretty clear that the painted details are either absent, or less striking in the old. Consider the paint over and behind Mary and Joseph: in the postcard, both are approximately the same relatively light gray. Red and blue both present in monochrome as rather dark gray. Similarly, the blue in the arches surrounding the rosettes (hard to tell?) is a pale gray in the postcard.

At any event, I anticipate the likelihood of a field trip this summer, to admire your fine church, and your fine Mass!

Militia Immaculata said...

For all the differences in St. Joseph's as it looked back then vs. how it looks now, y'all overlooked one thing -- back then in the reredos there are statues in the niches. Of which saints are said statues?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course it,s not the same altar and I have no idea what statues although currently we have St. Joseph and St. Anne with the child Mary on either side.

Templar said...

Speaking of Saints in the niches, did my eyes deceive me Father, or did I not see a statue of St Francis in the right hand niche recently?

ytc said...

I prefer the current color scheme and high altar. However, I passionately wish you'd rip that nasty versus populum altar out.

The church also looks incomplete without the altar rail. I also think the shell pulpit is magnificent and should be restored if one can be found.