Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Congratulations to St. Teresa Church in Albany, Georgia my first parish assignment! I was associate pastor there from 1980 to 1985 when the first renovation took place which resulted in the first  photos below. A new renovation was just completed resulting in the last two photos. Which do you like?

Please note the crazy windows which were placed in the church in 1983. These were an improvement over fiberglass windows that had circular wood chips in it from the late 50's with a golden look.

The new reredos is from a 150 year old closed chapel. It is not marble but painted wood. I was concerned that it would not look right in this 1950's building which would not have had this kind of altar in the 50's. But it seems to work.

I have to say, that I loved the screen for the tabernacle in "my" renovation. Those closed doors could slide open to expose a beautiful, if modern, tabernacle. So technically during Mass, the tabernacle was not seen but before and after it would be seen.


Anonymous said...

Well, it's a bit like taking a 1930's Magic Chef gas stove and installing it in the kitchen of a Steven Brooke contemporary home. The two don't mesh or compliment each other, in my opinion.

Also, the recent installation overshadows the altar, rendering it almost invisible. Hardly the dignity it deserves.

The "new" windows are, to my tastes, bland, and not good examples of the ways in which stained glass can be used to create exquisite images. They could be found, and left, in any Protestant church salvage store. The figures in the "new" ones are, I suspect, painted on the glass.

It seems the tabernacle in the backdrop is very high. Maybe there were steps up to that level in its former location?

rcg said...

Well I think it is an improvement. The original windows were unattractive to me while the new ones definitely soften the modernistic angles. They filled in the space under the tangent, or whatever architects call it, with bead panelling. That looks like they gave up trying to figure out what to do with it. They should do like traditional churches did and throw in some angels to fill space.

Anonymous said...

the new renovation would look better without the little altar, it would loo much better with an altar rail. The stained glass is the older photographs is intriguing, , they deserve a close up photograph and explanation. I am a little conflicted about older sanctuaries placed in contemporary churches. In that circumstance I think a balance of the contemporary sanctuary needs to remain for a historical continuity.

Cletus Ordo said...

Congratulations to this parish and the leadership of their excellent pastor, Fr. Raymond Levreault.

This man is a treasure and certainly one of the most under-appreciated priests in our diocese.

consolata said...

I think this is now beatiful, & reverent. Congratulations !

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The altar incorporated the marble pedestals from the original three altars to make four legs. The new Mensa or top is one massive marble piece. It was amazing how it was put in place. It is square not rectangular. It fit with the modern tabernacle screen but does not fit with the new “old” altar. It is too low and too square. I hope they can replace it one day.

Anonymous said...

Who decides on renovations---the bishop or the pastor, or both? Who pays? It is solely a parish responsibility (if they have the money)? But in any event, good to see a Catholic presence in a part of the state---southwest Georgia---where Catholics are really in the minority (Dougherty County---Albany---has over 90,000 people and just 1 Catholic church), compared with what I suspect are the two most heavily Catholic parts of your diocese--Augusta and Savannah.

Joseph Johnson said...

My mom just showed this to me in "The Southern Cross" (our diocesan paper). We both think that the newly installed old altar should become the new main altar and the table altar should be removed. There is no reason that the newly installed old altar can't be used for all Masses (OF or EF).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The pastor, in consultation with the pastoral council via a committee to make recommendations to him or to approve what he has in mind, makes the decision, but then he most pass this on to the bishop for his approval. The parish pays for it entirely either through savings, additional fund raiser or private donations.

I am conflicted about the new stained glass windows and having Roman arches in an A-Frame building--it clashes.

I had a love/hate relationship with the windows. It is abstract art, but art nonetheless and the quality of the glass and colors are exquisite. I loved the colors streaming into the church, but keep in mind that the previous windows were horrible fiberglass concoctions of a golden color with circular wood chips in it, I kid you not.

All the new windows were designed and executed by a Trappist monk in Conyers, GA.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think it was a couple of Trappist monks, including my former brother-in-law and Fr. Methodius, who made the colorful windows that have now been replaced.

Carol H. said...

The windows would look much better in the original shape. St. Teresa on one side and St. John of the Cross on the other would have been awesome. The reredos are wonderful, but I don't like the medallion in the middle- disembodied hands are kind of creepy!

Over all, it is definitely an improvement!

Anonymous said...

That "hand" image makes me think of the Protestant hymn "The Hand of God on the Wall." The refrain is marvelous:

’Tis the hand of God on the wall,
’Tis the hand of God on the wall;
Babylon the great is fallen, and we’re fully saved in Jesus,
While that hand is writing on the wall.

Of course, it could always call to mind "Thing" (Thing T. Thing) from the Addams Family.

Anonymous said...

When I was in high school we belonged to a church built in the 1963 with a similar interior (except the roof was flat, not gabled). It, curiously, had a Victorian Gothic high altar in a warm wood tone that had been placed there when it was built. It was beautiful and worked well with the pine paneling, but I always found it odd since that sort of architectural salvaging would have been unheard of in the 1960s. I later found out that the church was never meant to be permanent - it was designed to be the school gymnasium. The altar, pews, confessionals, and stations had been saved as a temporary cost saving measure from the old church building. The large empty lot next door was supposed to have housed a massive new church of modern design. The reason the old church wasn't saved was because the parish had moved across town to where all the new development was (the downtown had too many ethnic parishes close to one another - there were literally four or five churches no more than 5-8 blocks apart). That side of town didn't grow as much as it was expected to, and the funds for the new church never manifested like they were supposed to have.

They had saved the side altars too, but were secretly thrown out in the 70s (I remember older people were still angry about it over 20 years later).

Anonymous said...

When was the original St. Teresa's built? I guess it would be the "cathedral" if there were a diocese of Albany (referring of course to Georgia, not New York!), but I doubt there would ever be a sufficient Catholic population in southwest Georgia for a new diocese in that area---a lot of the counties down there have fewer people than they did a generation or even two ago---the old rural economy is not what it used to be.