Monday, September 6, 2021


 Conrad Schmitt restored this church in San Diego and did a great job. Thankfully the carpet was removed and beautiful new marble tile added. 

Sadly, though, there was no liturgical restoration. The free standing altar remains and in no way compares to the original altar and is dwarfed by it. The altar railing is not restored. But the restoration, repainting and redecorating is great!

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Before and After: Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego

Conrad Schmitt Studios  recently drew our attention to another 'before and after' project, this time coming within the context of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego, California. The project in question was primarily focused on the restoration and reinvigoration of t…


Unknown said...


Before I moved to Georgia, this was my parish in San Diego. Everyone who walks into Our Lady of the Rosary for the first time is stunned by the fantastic artwork. I still have many friends and contacts within the parish and, while the restoration (NOT renovation) is agreed upon as a good idea, not all are pleased with the result, particularly the marble floor. Under that red carpeting in the "before" photo was a wooden floor. Only the aisles were carpeted and you could feel it creak under your feet as you walked through the church. Marble flooring would be GREAT if this was a larger building, but OLR is a very small church and, with all the other artwork, the addition of the marble floor is a bit like "gilding the lily." It's just too much. Unfortunately, there is a faction in the parish that seems more interested in creating a local "shrine" than preserving a workable parish church building. I won't presume to know their motivations.

There was also one proposed restoration that never had a chance: reconstructing the communion rail.

Nonetheless, even though the artwork is what draws people into the parish, the fantastic pastoral leadership of the late Fr. Steven Grancini and Father Louis Solcia--both Barnabites from Milan--is what kept people there. Ethnically, OLR is designated as an "Italian National Parish", but the people of that parish made everyone feel welcome. I still miss my parish to this day.

TJM said...

Conrad Schmitt does beautiful work. This firm restored the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame after an unfortunate "updating" in the 1960s. The barbarians wanted to remove the high altar which was created in the atelier of Froc-Robert of Paris and purchased by the University's founder, Edward Sorin at the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876, but Father Hesburgh, put his foot down on that. Thank God.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Unknown, thanks for the comment; in the future please enable access to your google profile and create a name. Thanks.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It seems that C. Schmidt loves that alternating color pattern as you can see on the pilasters along the wall and the arches in the sanctuary. In the images closer to the sanctuary, that pattern really dominates the space. Along with the trumpeting angels above the altar and the seraphim along the roof line, it gets VERY busy. For me, way too much.

The current parish homepage does show an altar rail.

TJM said...

I checked the parish homepage and could not find a photo with the altar rail. Maybe I am getting old but I do not see it

TJM said...

I meant to mention, that notwithstanding PF's hissy fit with TC, the University of Notre Dame continues to offer the EF.

George said...

If you zoom into the picture on the first page of the church web site you can see the
altar rail. I couldn't see it at first.
If you go to the history page of Our Lady of the Rosary ( and scroll down, you'll see how the interior of the church looked like at one time, with a different balustrade altar rail separating the sanctuary from the nave. Other than the new rail being of white marble(or so it appears) and the tile replacing the carpet, it looks much like a modern incarnation (reincarnation?) of the old, although since it is a black and white photo there is no way to tell if the color scheme is the same.