Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 A stunningly beautiful post Vatican II Church which I love except....

I want to improve it. The finishes are great. But, I don't like the projected sanctuary and I am not sure why there is an ambo and a podium. Can't tell where the priest's chair is, but it looks like it is behind the altar to the right of the tabernacle. I like how the tabernacle looks with the six candles.

Let's spend more money and improve it. Push the altar back to the tabernacle area and elevate it three steps. Add an altar railing. and then where the altar is now can be a stage for weddings and the like to include RCIA ceremonies. 

Just like the 1970 Roman Missal, improvements are needed even in a spectacularly beautiful new church. What to do? What to do? Oh, what are we to do?


TJM said...

They had to leave room for the dancing girls. Your comments are spot on

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

St. Joseph Church in Downington, PA. 4,600 families, 15,000 parishioners, 612 in the school!!!

Turns out a man who was a year behind me in seminary is pastor there, Fr. Steve Leva.

ByzRus said...

This church is about an hour from me. This is a marked improvement over what they had. The windows are from the closed MBS Parish in West Phila., executed by the Boos studios in Germany. I too don't care for the sanctuary jutting out as it tends to create a lot of space that is difficult to use. That aside, there was a significant amount of planning that went into this church and for its style, it's stunning.

BTW, there is an altar rail of sorts, it's just behind the altar. More photos here:

Here are other newer churches in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:!1s0x89c68f8212398275%3A0xac9db10d00db0beb!3m1!7e115!!5sst.%20teresa%20of%20calcutta%20parish%20limerick%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipOTcO5Xw-Jufgb4ATMUoRsCow9NE1_28k7S6LIS&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiM9Z6B7LjyAhUvn-AKHcf5AecQoiowE3oECEwQAw

ByzRus said...

TJM said: "They had to leave room for the dancing girls. Your comments are spot on."

What the hell does that even mean?

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK:

It is an area that has experienced significant growth, thus the number of families. It is one of the 5 largest parishes in the archdiocese. Though I've not seen him in quite some time, I am acquainted with the parochial vicar there. He's not been ordained that long but, both he and his classmates are very solid new priests.

Fr. AJM:

I believe the intention is to continue developing the church as some of the artwork and statues were not yet in place at dedication. There weren't enough available windows from the closed donor parish so, they will likely have to do what St. Bede, Holland PA did and have some of the windows made to match. There's a studio up here that is very good in that way. MBS artifacts are in several parishes locally, these two among them. The facade of the new church supposedly resembles the first church (I've never seen it or a photo). If its somewhat similar, I'm sure many appreciate it.

Any/all: While the people have some say in what their church will look like, there are other factors among them, having the diocese approve the design. Fortunately and when being planned, then archbishop Cardinal Rigali was very much in favor of new churches having a classic look with a centrally located tabernacle and something resembling a reredos to provide emphasis. So, that vintage of new churches within the archdiocese are more classical. Are they perfect with the three steps, high altar etc., likely not to everyone's taste but, most parishioners are thrilled to have their new churches look as much like Catholic churches as these do (there were more built than I mentioned with repurposes high altars and renovations that added a reredos to.....I would say most.

So, TJM, maybe load the mind by asking a question before shooting off the mouth next time. The painfully forced attempts at trite humor or insult are wearying. "Dancing girls......ha.ha.ha" Please.

John Nolan said...

The sanctuary is simply too large. You don't need all that space behind the altar, which is so far forward that the ambo and what appears to be a fixed lectern are actually behind it and a long way from the people, which strikes me as perverse.

A question. Have the US bishops mandated that candles be placed on the floor? I ask because all the pictures I see of US churches seem to have this arrangement. Nothing wrong with it, of course, both in terms of the 1970 missal and of pre-13th century Roman practice, but in this particular church the candles are rather a long way from the altar compared with the plant-pots.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, it is a confused theology about the Mass and how the sanctuary should be arranged, and where the people are in relationship to everything else. After Vatican II when churches pulled forward the altar to allow the priest to get behind it, usually the six tall candlesticks were removed and two tiny ones placed on the altar and rather silly looking compared to the older ones. Then there was a theology that absolutely nothing should be on the altar except the cloth (reduced in size) the chalice(s) and paten and bowls for extra hosts. Since the entire sanctuary was important candles were strewn away from the altar to highlight the sanctuary, especially when altar railings were removed.
And then there were the six candlesticks used to flank the coffin for funerals and once those were no longer needed these were placed around the altar.

I have mixed feelings about floor candlesticks as you can tell from my parishes in Macon and where I am now. But i do think they clutter and distract from the altar or box it in. Tall ones on an altar that faces the congregation unless it is a longer rectangular altar simply looks bad to me (but not when ad orientem).

I prefer the six candlesticks as they appear in this church flanking the tabernacle and the altar should be closer to it to make it appear to be one unit rather than two units with the distance between them in the photo.

Michael A said...

I love it too and wish there would be a Communion Railing. But this is edifying and I would be very thankful to be attending Mass here.

TJM said...


Humorless? Ever hear of liturgical dance?

ByzRus said...

I tend to favor 6 around the tabernacle with 2 ON the altar along with a central crucifix. To me, that looks more cohesive and less chaotic particularly from the back of the nave. While I like the Benedictine arrangement, if used on a smaller altar, the priest tends to almost look like they are in jail - way too congested.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I don't know of any U.S. mandate for the placement of candles.

As far as I know there is no "theology" of candle placement, and whether they are on the floor or on the altar is of little or no consequence whatsoever.

People have their preferences, but that's all they are.

As for a "theology" of what's on the altar, I don't think that exists, either. As a matter of respect, extraneous items such as homily notes, the priests' watch (I've seen it), bottles of water, etc., should not be on the altar.

I heard a story once of a Latin Rite bishop who was concelebrating in an Eastern Rite Church. The Latin bishop removed his glasses and placed them on the edge of the altar and, instantly, the Eastern rite bishop brushed them off onto the floor, giving his brother bishop a bit of a "look" in the process.

TJM said...

Still not answering why only 30 percent of OF attendees believe in the Real Presence?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I will reiterate what I said to you a couple of years ago.

I will not engage in ANY converation with you or answer ANY question you pose because you have shown time and again that you are incapable of engaging in an adult conversation. In the time since then I have also concluded that you have a very tenuous grasp on reality, making any attempt to discuss things with you utterly pointless.

You will now rant and rave as is your wont. You will make baseless accusations which is your stock and trade. I will not repeat this message.

TJM said...

Fr K,

LOL - like Mark Thomas you dodge questions which conflict with your views or show that your views are unsupported by facts. Do you believe your various insults under your numerous handles evidence maturity?