Thursday, June 8, 2023


 This is Hartford’s Cathedral of Saint Joseph. I haven’t looked it up, but it appears to me to be 1950’s modern art/architecture. 

I like it as well as the abstract colorful windows. 

My only criticism is the baldachin. It clutters the space and distracts from the mural behind it. Baldachins work only in a few places in my mind, like St. Peter’s and the other major basilicas. Not so much in this cathedral:


ByzRus said...

I'm familiar with this cathedral and like it as well.

It seems that during the 1950's into the early '60s, RC architecture in the U.S. really emphasized baldachins, testers and those protrusions at the tops of high altars of that time. I like some, don't like others. This one doesn't bother me. It disappears a bit and it only seems to be hiding mosaic feet.

TJM said...

I love the rich color palate.


I think you hit on something - that seems to be my recollection as well

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

A classmate of mine, our class' "Only Surviving Monsigno," was rector there for a few years. I think this example and the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Balto are good examples of how this style/type works well.

ByzRus said...

You are correct, Fr. MJK, another good example.

I looked it up and am glad I did. Modern does not have to be ugly, or, non-traditional, as is clearly the case here.

the Egyptian said...

I agree the baldachin really is a distraction here since the focus of the building is the altar, makes sense if the sanctuary is wide or centered in a wide St Peters to focus attention
Overall I like it but wouldn't it be wonderful if the windows were catholic and showed the saints and apostles instead of abstract art, colorful but meaningless to the average person. And a few statues would be nice. At least the organ and choir is in the right place. Did they really need the second altar up front, totally redundant!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Egyptian - The windows in St. Joseph Cathedral DO show saints. There are dozens of figures in them. If you click on this link you can see them plainly.

the Egyptian said...

sorry, however they are very abstract, you have too look to see them and they are not clear.
This is my idea of Catholic windows, St Joseph Catholic Church, Egypt Ohio. the church of my childhood, and misspent youth.
church has been repainted since these pics were taken, more colorful now but still not as in the 60's

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Egyptian - No, the windows are not abstract. There are clearly faces, hands, bodies, eyes, and heads surrounded by haloes. There are lilies, crowns, shepherd's crooks, Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments in his hand, and Adam and Eve tilling the ground with a shovel. And in that window one can clearly see the serpent coiled around a tree trunk.

While they may not be "your idea" of "Catholic windows," they are not abstract.