Thursday, March 31, 2016

OUR NEWEST CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE DIOCESE OF SAVANNAH

The old Henry Ford Saint Anne Catholic Church, Richmond Hill, Georgia:
The new Saint Anne Catholic Church dedicated in February (video of highlights of dedication below):



I just found this video on the internet. It is a reprise of the Dedication of our newest Catholic Church in the Diocese of Savannah. It took place in February. Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, our bishop, along with our emeritus bishop, Bishop Kevin Boland together consecrated the building and altar.

The church seats 1000!!! I was unable to attend the Mass. The church is St. Anne Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia which is a suburb south of Savannah off of I-95. It is a growing suburb. The original church was built by Henry Ford as Richmond Hill in the early part of the last century was a vacation spot for those traveling from the upper reaches of the mid west. The old church was originally a congregationalist church. I'm not too sure how the Catholic Church was able to acquire it.

The original church will be used for daily Mass, weddings and funerals.

The church property is appropriately on Ford Avenue!

Kudos to all at St. Anne's and to Father Joseph Smith who is pastor and his leadership that has led not only to this multi million dollar church but also a very nice social hall and he acquired a lovely home to be the rectory in a regular neighborhood.

Fr. Smith was a member of the Cathedral men's choir when I was the associate pastor of the Cathedral from 1985-91. I was also vocation director. He entered the seminary and the rest is history. If not for me, no telling what kind of church St. Anne's would have today! :)

The Church is cruciform and a wonderful blend of tradition and modern sensibilities:

This is the parish video promoting the fund raiser:

17 comments:

Cletus Ordo said...

I feel a sickening mixture of excitement and disappointment. The outside actually looks like a Catholic Church--which shows some progress for THIS diocese. However, the inside has the predictable modernist wooden altar, no reredos, no high altar and no altar rail for kneeling. If the mindset of those behind this design was as "open" and "inclusive" as they would have us believe, they would be open to our tradition of the Traditional Latin Mass (that nobody supposedly wants) and it would have a bit less of the "altar in the round" effect at the front. I couldn't tell if it had the predictable "total immersion baptismal jacuzzi" at the entrance either.

Don't get me wrong, this is progress, but at some point, the building will have to be remodeled to truly accommodate and be inclusive for all Catholics--you know, the kind they don't want in this diocese. Until then, we stay stuck in the 70's. Perhaps another generation or a great chastisement from on high will correct this.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said that the church is "...a wonderful blend of tradition and modern sensibilities."

Father, I definitely noticed the...ummm..."modern sensibilities" at work. What a shame.

The so-called "wonderful blend of tradition and modern sensibilities" has sunk the Church during the past 50 or so years. The attempted marriage between "modern sensibilities" (novelties) and Tradition has failed miserably and will continue to fail miserably.

Father McDonald, I understand your use of the term "modern sensibilities". But what we're really talking about is that the "modern sensibilities" found at Saint Anne Catholic Church reflect the foisting of novelties/modernistic practices onto the People of God. That, in turn, has eroded Catholic identity throughout the (Western) Church.

We must either return to Holy Tradition or accept the reality that the novelties ("modern sensibilities") in place throughout the Western Church will continue to erode Catholic identity. I find it difficult to believe that Saint Anne Catholic Church will prove different in that regard.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

TJM said...

I concur with these commentators. Although the exterior if quite handsome and evokes the feel of an English country church, the interior is severe and lacking in Catholic sensibilities.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I disagree. The new church has many, many Catholic sensibilities which may not come across in the photos. There are four statues in appropriately designed niches and votive candles nearby for each. There are additional statues at the back and a large one of St. Ann in the narthex which is spacious.

The stations of the cross are traditional and painted in tasteful vivid colors.

The tabernacle is large and in the center. The only thing I might have done differently was to expand the sanctuary and have a discreet altar railing. The furnishing fit the design.

There are no stain glass windows, but I would think these are planned for the future when there is money or donations for them. Although I like the natural light coming in and the view of the trees, I think stain glass windows would change the ambiance greatly.

Anonymous said...

The recreation of the past seems to be the only acceptable "solution" for Commenters 1 thru 3 here. The problem is, it cannot be done.

Oh, we can recreate the buildings of the past, using all the same techniques, decorations, and pietistical minutiae we can afford. But we cannot recreate the past. It is gone and it is not coming back, no matter how we build or decorate our church buildings.

This is nothing more than a dangerous nostalgia. Jamie Varon writes, "I think nostalgia is an easy place to escape to. It’s dangerous, though. Nostalgia can rearrange your memories and make them into a picture that wasn’t true then, but feels true now, brighter somehow and better even. Our pasts are like a movie that we get to edit. We can reminisce and break apart what once was and put it back together to represent something beautiful. We get to decide how our past looks. It belongs to us. However, that rearranging can be a risky game to play with ourselves. We can rearrange until we make ourselves believe that our better days are behind us, that getting back to what was is better than looking forward to what will."

God bless the people of St. Anne parish. May they worship with joy in the beautiful new Catholic church they have built!

Carol H. said...

At first, I was disappointed at the interior, but upon further inspection, I see great potential. Since this church is cruciform, a baldachin would do wonders to eliminate the modernist platform feel of the sanctuary. Reredos in the back would help to focus attention on our Lord's presence in the tabernacle. Stained glass windows can be slowly added over time as finances allow, and altar railing can be chosen to fit the style of the baldachin and reredos. This diamond in the rough has the potential to be spectacular!

I personally have no objection to wooden altars if they are carved in such a way as to make them obviously Catholic. After all, Jesus did grow up as a carpenter.

TJM said...

Fr. McDonald, you may be right, but the lack of stained glass leaves a huge void. Also the altar is diminutive for the space and needs either a baldachinno or reredos to give it presence. The exterior is very fine, as is.

Anonymous said...

Where is the "Hill" in Richmond Hill? Pretty flat down in that part of the state. Could it be the "artificial" hills (fill) that take I-95 over some creeks, roads and railroads down there. Maybe it should be called "Richmond Flats!"

Anonymous said...

In 1941 the town's name was changed to Richmond Hill in honor of Ford, who had built his winter residence, Richmond, on the site of the former Clay plantation.

DJR said...

Anonymous said...
The recreation of the past seems to be the only acceptable "solution" for Commenters 1 thru 3 here. The problem is, it cannot be done. Oh, we can recreate the buildings of the past, using all the same techniques, decorations, and pietistical minutiae we can afford. But we cannot recreate the past. It is gone and it is not coming back, no matter how we build or decorate our church buildings. This is nothing more than a dangerous nostalgia..."


Catholics don't "re-create" the past but they do adhere to their traditions.

There are millions of Catholics who worship in the same manner as their ancestors (with slight variations) in buildings that their ancestors would recognize. My family is among them.

It has nothing to do with "nostalgia," nor is there anything dangerous about it, which is quite laughable.

The outside of the new church is nice; the inside is plain and boring at the present time. It does have potential though.

An example of Catholics who adhere to their traditions in a truly Catholic sanctuary can be found here, where my family has worshipped when in town:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/catholicsanctuaries/sets/72157629040258619/

Catholics who do not adhere to their traditions eventually end up losing the Catholic Faith altogether, which is exactly what has happened among the majority of Roman Rite Catholics in the modern era.

Flavius Hesychius said...

The outside reminds me of St. Patrick's in New Orleans. The inside, not so much.

Anonymous said...

DJR - The style and decoration of a church is not part of the Tradition that we adhere to. Churches have been cruciform, Latin or Greek, square, oval, or some other shape. They have been ornately decorated and plain. They have had pews or chairs or none of the above. They have had clear glass, opalescent glass, stained glass, or no windows at all.

The variations have not been "slight."

Cletus Ordo said...

"Dangerous Nostalgia"

That's a good one.

Label it what you will, but it is the only kind of Catholicism that has given consistent vocations and had consistent growth in the last 30 years. All the rest is just expanded life support for a re-branded type of Church that has not cannot and will not sustain itself.

I think too many geriatric liberals have a "dangerous nostalgia" for those days of "golden protest" and rupture. Time will solve their death grip on the the reins of power.

DJR said...

Anonymous said...DJR - The style and decoration of a church is not part of the Tradition that we adhere to. Churches have been cruciform, Latin or Greek, square, oval, or some other shape. They have been ornately decorated and plain. They have had pews or chairs or none of the above. They have had clear glass, opalescent glass, stained glass, or no windows at all.

The variations have not been "slight."


You missed the meaning of what was stated.

My response was directed at the person who posted earlier and stated that "we cannot recreate the past."

That person's statement has nothing to do with architecture, it has to do with liturgical practice, as there is no reason to believe we cannot create the exact same type of architecture as was done in the past, which that person admits in the post.

My reference to "slight variations" refers to the liturgy itself, not to the construction of a church building. The liturgy at my parish (Ruthenian) dates back to Saint John Chrysostom in the 400s. And, yes, the variations are slight in that regard, as the liturgy is basically the same now as it was then.

Catholics from the past would recognize the liturgy at which I worship because it is the same as in the past, again, with slight variations.

Not so for the parish referenced here. The variations with the past are more than slight, to the point that Catholics from the past would not recognize the missal that is used there. The architecture of the place is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

DJR - We can recreate the liturgical practice of the past, but this will not bring back or recreate the past.

The liturgical past was a product of its time. The variations in liturgy and architecture, which were not so slight, were products of a particular culture. And that culture is gone.

The Truths of the faith come from God and do not change. The ways in which we express those Truths in liturgy, art, architecture, music, etc., all change, have changed, and will continue to change. None of these are irrelevant.

To hope or to expect that, by celebrating the liturgy as it once was, will transport us back to a time when all was right with the Church (which is a fantasy, such a time never existed) is dangerous nostalgia.

TJM said...

Anonymous, but the ancient liturgy might cause a re-awakening of what it means to be Catholic. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. It worked for centuries. The 1960s reforms aren't working now.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The other thing I love about the interior of the church is the natural materials, almost no Maintenence will be needed such as paint, plaster and the like.