Art

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

For the weekend masses we had our icon of Rublev's Trinity in the sanctuary. It used to hang in the atrium to the chapel over the baptismal font while the new church was under construction.

It's a beautiful meditation on the mystery of the Trinity, including even the simple identification of which of the figures represents Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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Parish Trip to "Splendors of the Vatican" Exhibit at Franklin Institute

Join us on Monday, January 18th for a trip to Philadelphia's Franklin Institute and a tour of the Vatican Splendors exhibit. 

"Vatican Splendors" explores more than 2,000 years of art, historic objects, and ancient documents that illustrate the Vatican's impact on the world.

The exhibit features artwork by Michelangelo, bone fragments of Saints Peter and Paul, and historic objects from both the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter's in Rome.

The evolution of the church is displayed in 11 separate galleries that feature important events, people, and growth in the history of the Vatican.

And P.S. a huge Lego model of the Vatican made by a priest from Pennsylvania.

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The sublime and the whimsical...

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St Louis, The Saint And Our Window, Not The City

St Louis IX of France Stained Glass Window
Today we celebrate one of Holy Cross' "Window Saints." King Louis IX of France was canonized for his piety, charity to the poor and defense of the Church from Turkish incursions into North Africa and the Near East.

King Louis took St. Francis as a patron and is closely associated with the Secular Order of the Franciscans. This connection led to his being included in the collection of stained glass from St. Francis' Church which is now proudly in our possession.

He died of infectious disease during his second crusade. The advice he gave to his son is an amazing instruction to a Catholic ruler not to compartmentalize his faith from his governance.  

Let us pray to lead integral Catholic lives at work, at prayer and at play. The love of Christ should fill and overflow any and all arbitrary compartments.

 


Lenten Prayer Series Wednesday Nights

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This Lent our Adult Faith Enrichment program will focus on prayer and art. We will be using a newly published book  Art and Prayer by Msgr. Timothy Verdon. The book is lavishly illustrated with color photographs of the works of art discussed in the text.  We will order only as many books as we need, so please make a reservation with the Parish Office or obtain your own copy. The requested donation if the parish orders your book is $ 25.

Here is a tentative schedule:

                           

Ash Wednesday

February 18

Chapter 1

Prayer, Life, Art

 

February 25

Chapter 2

Spaces of Prayer

 

March 4

Chapter 3

Liturgical Prayer

 

March 11

Chapter 4

The Prayer of Pleading

 

March 18

Chapter 5

Lectio Divina

 

March 25

Chapter 6

Contemplative Prayer

 

April 1

Chapter 7

In the Hour of Death

              

                                            


All You Who Labor

Christus“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart;

and you will find rest for your selves. 

For my yoke is easy

and my burden light."

 

 

 

 

  Christus Consolator, as the image of Christ sculpted by Thorwaldsen has been called, has been reproduced widely. The original stands in a lobby at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, another is in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The story how the statue came to be and where it rests at Hopkins is interesting, especially in this day and age when religious symbols are being stripped from public and private institutions alike.  Read one account of this history by Nancy McCall: The Statue of the Christus Consolator at The Johns Hopkins Hospital


Beyer's Informative and Beautiful Presentation

 

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St. Kieran Window
Joe Beyer gave an informative and beautiful presentation on the
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Joe Beyer (at left)  Displays Print of St. Kieran Window to Holy Cross Parishioners
art of stained glass window making with a spotlight on D'Ascenszo Studios and Edwin Sharkey, the company and designer of our newly acquired windows.

 

The surprise of the evening was a full sized, color print of our St. Kieran window, who even in his slightly pixellated state look magnificent. I think we'll have St. Kieran make an appearance at all our masses on the weekend of our groundbreaking, April 14th. Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The window shows Kieran holding his crozier as founder of the Monastery at  Clonmacnoise. The monastery itself is pictured at his feet in the background along the shores of the River Shannon. A hair shirt protrudes ever so slightly from underneath his fine garments. 


Nicola D'Ascenzo - Stained Glass Master Craftsman

You may wonder why  I am writing about a stained glass craftsman who lived from 1871 - 1954? No mystery, really. He is the maker of some beautiful windows we may acquire for the renovated church.

Nicola D'Ascenzo
Photo of Nicola D'Ascenzo from an article in the May 1936 issue of The Rotarian

 

D'Ascenzo immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1892 and studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He then taught painting until he could open up his own studio. The artist championed a Gothic revival in stained glass making and became reknowned for his own style of glass with strong reds and blues and a more disciplined style compared with Tiffany and LaFarge, especially for his ecclesiastical glass.

D'Ascenzo Studios thrived even during the Great Depression - a tribute to the reputation and skill of this master craftsman, whose Philadelphia studios were not so much a factory as an artisan's guild.

His works are collected and traded at auction, and his stained glass still bathes admirers in colored light all around the world. Here are just a few of his commissions: The Seven Ages of Man window in Shakespeare's Folger Library in Washington, DC; the chapel windows in the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, PA; "Nipper" the RCA dog, the West Window in Princeton University's Chapel; windows in the Washington National Cathedral, the Horn and Hardart windows in NY and PA; and closer to home, the cathedrals in Newark and Philadelphia, St. George's by the River and the former Bishop's Chapel in Trenton, NJ.

 

 


How are poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, painter Thomas Moran and Holy Cross related?

Well, through a mountain - Holy Cross Mountain in the Colorado Rockies.

The mountain is reached only with some difficulty, and in the early days of settlement of the Western United States the existence of a mountain emblazoned with a cross was legend. Eventually explorers documented the presence of the snow-crossed mountain made famous by an early photograph by William H. Jackson and later in paintings by Thomas Moran. The mountain itself became a popular tourist destination.

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William Henry Jackson
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Mount of the Holy Cross by Jackson

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Thomas Moran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longfellow had seen both Moran's painting and Jackson's photograph and some 18 years after the death of his wife, Frances (Fanny) by accidental fire, he penned The Cross of Snow in tribute to her. Longfellow had attempted to extinguish the flames of Frances' clothing which had ignited from a candle or spark from the fireplace without success. Longfellow's face was scarred and disfigured from burns he sustained during his rescue attempt. He stopped shaving after the burns healed and photographs taken after the tragic acccident show his prominent whiskers.

The Cross of Snow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,

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Longfellow
A gentle face--the face of one long dead--
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died, and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

 


Tonight Stations of the Cross in Art followed by Confessions

A reminder that tonight's Stations of the Cross will be the Scriptural Stations of the Cross once prayed by John Paul II. Since they do not correspond to the traditional Stations we have hanging in our church, we will once again use artistic representations of these Scriptural passages to help our evening meditation.

The Sacrament of Reconcilation will also be availabe immediately after the Stations are prayed. Please join us.

Betrayal


Mother Cabrini Shrine and Cloister Photos

Here are some additional photos of our trip to the Cloisters and the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.

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Gate near the main entrance. Watching it raise and lower called to mind a time gone by. I don't think they had fireplugs in the middle ages though.

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The imposing appearance of The Cloisters from main entrance walkway.

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An interior door with candle stand c. 14th century. Most of the doors were decidedly smaller than modern doors; we've grown bigger over the centuries.

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Monastic garden

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The Annunciation Triptych  by Robert Campin

 

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We gathered in a recreation of a 14th Century Spanish Church

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The painted, wooden corpus is that of Christ the King.
 
 

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St. Frances Cabrini's remains rest under the main altar at her shrine which is nearby The Cloisters.
 
 
 
 
  
  


Monday of Holy Week - Lazarus Causes A Commotion

Scholars agree that it was Jesus' raising of Lazarus that finally marked him for death and set the plans in motion to silence him forever. Jesus' fame already widespread, became even greater after this miracle, and his criticism of religious leaders of the day stirred hatred and conspiracy. In this morning's gospel, Jesus dines with Lazarus while a curious crowd, including some of the Scibes and Pharisees, seek a glimpse of the new celebrity.

This etching by Rembrandt depicts the drama of Jesus' raising of Lazarus and the almost dream like sleep of death from which Lazarus is beckoned by Jesus.

Rembrandt_etching Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead 


 


St. Blase in Michelangelo's Last Judgment

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Three of the saints in Michelangelo's "Last Judgement." St.  Blase, St. Catherine and St. Sebastian. Tradition usually dictates that a saint is depicted with the instruments with which the saint was martyred or another symbol which stands for their life (e.g. a lily for chastity). Here Blase is shown with the combs with which his flesh was raked before he was beheaded, St. Catherine with broken wheel on which her the first attempt to kill her failed, and St. Sebastian with the arrows of his persecution.


Faith Seeking Understanding Holy Week

 
Untitled Saints and Scoundrels of Holy Week in Art:

Wednesday of Holy Week, March 31

St. Michael Media Room at 7 :00 PM

 

 

Join us for an evening of reflection on the people we will encounter in Scripture and in the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week as shown in art through the ages. Our time together will be a thoughtful and prayerful introduction to the Sacred Triduum.


Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle

Today's Lectionary Readings

The phrase "blinding insight" coveys something of what happened to Paul in his conversion experience. Paul was privileged in the degree of his theophany or perhaps even the kind, but if we're receptive to divine insight, we experience them as well.

An "oh no" accompanied with an "ah ha" experience: Oh no, I've been persecuting Christians, Ah ha, Christ is the Light of the World. Such a revelation is disorienting - it takes a while to discern and regroup. This experience, not personal acquaintance with Jesus, changed the entire direction of Paul's life.

Unless we carefully protect ourselves with spiritual RayBans, we too will be gifted with Divine insight from time to time, perhaps like Paul, even at a moment when we least expect it.

Let us pray this day for the humility and courage to change directions in our lives, anything to follow the Light of the World more closely.

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Caravaggio, an artist who explored the contrast between darkness and light in almost all his works,  painted two version of St. Paul's conversion, the painting on the left emphasizes the blinding, pehaps even painful nature of Divine insight, while the painting on the right depicts Paul's ultimately receptive posture to God's revelation. 


St. Sebastian, martyr

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As Sister Wendy says in her Grand Tour video of art, St. Sebastian was an extremely popular subject for Renaissance painters, because he alone (beside Jesus), could be shown nude, giving artists an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the human male form.

The result is that there are many painings of St. Sebastian ranging from the inspiring to kitsch. One depiction which stands out from the others in style and point of view is that of Jacques Callot, which shows the saint all alone, surrounded by the emperor's power arrayed against him. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke became intrigued with the lone figure gathering up the arrows which had missed their mark.

Courage in the face of power, even the power of Satan does not ultimately prevail. We are not alone, Christ is with us.