Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Alphonsus Liguori on St. Joseph

[The following is excerpted from "The Glories of St. Joseph," compiled by the Monks of St. Joseph's Abbey in Flavigny, France.]

"Who can doubt that it is our duty to honor St. Joseph, when the Son of God Himself honored him with the name of father?"

"And indeed the Evangelists do not hesitate to give him that name. His father and mother were wondering, says St. Luke, at those things which were spoken concerning him [Luke 2: 33]. It is also the name the Divine [in the sense that her Son is divine, not that she herself is a goddess] Mother gave him: Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing [Luke 2: 48]."

"If then the King of Kings wished to elevate Joseph to so high an honor, it is right and just that we try to honor him as much as we can."

"'Which angel or saint,' says St. Basil, 'has ever deserved to be called father of the Son of God?' Joseph was more honored by God than all the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Pontiffs. They have the name of servants; Joseph has the name of father."

"So St. Joseph as father is placed at the head of this little family, small in number, but great by the two personages it contains: the Mother of God and the only Son of God made man. In this household, Joseph commands, and the Son of God obeys. 'This subjection of the Son of God,' says Gerson, 'while proving to us the humility of the Saviour, shows us the high dignity of Joseph. And what greater dignity, what higher elevation could there be than to command the One who commands all the Kings?'"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sanctuary Renovation: St. Mary's in Alexandria, Virginia

St. Mary's in Alexandria is the oldest Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was established in 1795, and the current church dates from 1826 (with an enlargement in 1856).

Exterior of St. Mary's

In January 2010, St. Mary's began a construction project to beautify the sanctuary. The contractor for the project was the Gardiner Hall International architectural firm, which has a very interesting introduction to their ecclesiastical portfolio page on their website (I encourage you to read it).

The firm also gave an overview of project (including a photo of how the sanctuary looked before construction began, and a sketch of the approved design)): ...The inspiration for this project is taken from early Maryland Jesuit Churches -- a typical Jesuit Baroque treatment above the church's original neoclassical altar and tabernacle hearkens back to the parish's establishment by Jesuits..."

The project was completed in time for Laetare Sunday, and the confirmation of children from the parish the following evening. The end result is, in my opinion, glorious.

Before pictures:

A view of the sanctuary, taken 17 March 2007

Taken 13 March 2008

A close-up on the then-Lady Chapel, taken 17 March 2007

After pictures:

The new sanctuary, taken 16 March 2010.

The sanctuary and the side chapel, now dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A close-up of the tabernacle and the "altar of repose," which features a bas-relief of the Sacred Heart.

A close-up of the crucifix and the new backing reredo, with a pediment that contains the IHS Christogram.

The new Sacred Heart side chapel.

Besides the sanctuary, St. Mary's installed new carpeting in the side aisles and transept walkways and marble paving down the center aisle. On Friday 19 March, the feast day of St. Joseph, the parish will offer its first Traditional Latin Mass since the completion of the project. If you're in the Washington, DC area, I encourage you to attend this Mass. Even if you can't attend, do visit St. Mary's when you can and see the work they did for the greater glory of God. Their website is: St. Mary's Catholic Church.