Sacristy Art (Image from Santa Maria Maggiore)

Sacristy Art (Image from Santa Maria Maggiore) Sacristy art is a rare subject.  As someone who spends a lot of time in sacristies around the world, I have to say this one really caught my eye. I took this photo in the sacristy of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.  The framed image, probably from the sixties, rest…

Portapalme

Portapalme Some readers may notice from time to time, particularly in Italian and Italianate churches, the utilization of a kind of ornamental object that sits between the altar candlesticks in the way reliquaries often do. These objects take various shapes and forms but amount to a k…

A Glimpse into Grandeur: Art of the Gesù Church

A Glimpse into Grandeur: Art of the Gesù Church “The Holy Name: Art of the Gesù: Bernini and His Age” has been organized to honor the 75th anniversary of Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution in Fairfield, Connecticut. The exhibition and accompanying events focus on an unprecedented assemblage in the United Stated …

The Essential Bookshelf for a Religious Artist, Part 1: the Golden Legend

The Essential Bookshelf for a Religious Artist, Part 1: the Golden Legend There are a few books that are especially useful to anyone who wishes to understand or to make religious art; living in an time when its meaning has become obscure and its traditions neglected, they are essential. The Bible, obviously, is foremost. After that, the book t…

The History of Prinknash Abbey Incense and How it is Made

The History of Prinknash Abbey Incense and How it is Made While incense is not often considered a "liturgical art" in and of itself, it seems to me that it perfectly well qualifies as one of them. The liturgical arts are not all plastic arts after all and one need only look as far as sacred music to see this. Incense, li…

Stunning Renovation of St. Kevin's in Dublin

Stunning Renovation of St. Kevin's in Dublin I have to say one of the most enjoyable Holy Weeks of my life was spent at St. Kevin's on Harrington Street in Dublin. It has been a few years since I have been there, but nevertheless, the experience remains vivid. Such a vibrant parish community! St. Kevin's is…

Seraphic Wings: On the Chasuble, Stole, and Dalmatic

Seraphic Wings: On the Chasuble, Stole, and Dalmatic (Translated from Lebrun's  Explanation  and also published at Canticum Salomonis) Lebrun gives a brief overview of the evolution of the chasuble, stole, and dogmatic, and provides some very interesting notes about French liturgical practice. The Chasuble The chasuble, cas…

Euntes Ibant et Flebant: On the Maniple and Stole

Euntes Ibant et Flebant: On the Maniple and Stole ( Translated from  Pierre Lebrun’s Explanation  and p ublished originally on Canticum Salomonis ) The Maniple The maniple was originally called a mappula , which means a small cloth or handkerchief. The Churches of Germany called it a fanon , [1] which in German means something spre…

Austrian Made Vestments from 1751

Austrian Made Vestments from 1751 Continuing on with our consideration of the vestment arts, today I wished to quickly share with readers this set, made in Austria in 1751 and housed now in the Archdiocese of Gorizia, Italy -- which diocese happened to be founded in the very same year. The set is made from…

A Mystery Vestment -- And a Beautiful One

A Mystery Vestment -- And a Beautiful One Unfortunately, one sometimes comes across things which are of great interest but for which there is little to no information provided. This chasuble is one such example -- and its beauty is such that it would seem a shame to not show it all the same. The chasuble it is app…

On Silence in the Liturgy

On Silence in the Liturgy Recently while on pilgrimage with Fr. William Barker, FSSP (of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei), I experienced the overwhelming privilege of attending his private Low Mass in the tiny Slipper Chapel of the Catholic Basilica at Walsingham. This hidden place of …

St. Benedict the Moor on the U.S. Liturgical Calendar

St. Benedict the Moor on the U.S. Liturgical Calendar National liturgical calendars are a bit of an ahistorical recent development—calendars should ideally be drawn up at the diocesan level, as they were for centuries—but as the national versions are for better or worse the current modus operandi , I would respectfully ask the …

The Amice and the Papal Fanon

The Amice and the Papal Fanon On the origin of priestly vestments and why the Church desires her priests to wear particular clothing in the celebration of Mass. Translated from Pierre Lebrun’s Explanation  and p ublished originally on Canticum Salomonis In states and republics there are particular costumes …

Sanctuary Furnishings from Duncan Stroik

Sanctuary Furnishings from Duncan Stroik When one thinks of architects one naturally thinks of buildings, but many architects also pursue the design of liturgical furnishings. One such architect is Duncan Stroik  who has designed a complete set of sanctuary furnishings that includes a tabernacle, candlesticks, alt…

On the Urn for the Altar of Repose

On the Urn for the Altar of Repose One of the most marked differences between the liturgy before the reforms of the 1950's and after, from the point of view of the faithful, was that for possibly the first time in the Church’s history, they were able to receive Holy Communion on Good Friday. A consequen…

On the Reed or Tricereo (The Triple Candle)

On the Reed or Tricereo (The Triple Candle) One of the 'lost' items of the traditional Holy Week rites is the triple candle known most commonly in English as the "reed," though also known as the tricereo, arundo, triangulum or lumen Christi . With the increased interest that is taking place around t…

The Art of the Paschal Triduum: The Crotalus

The Art of the Paschal Triduum: The Crotalus Although not much to look at, the artistry of the crotalus (also known as a "clacker") is precisely in the sound it makes.  A dreadful sound, to be exact -- the intended opposite of the joyous clash and peal of bells. This antique crotalus was used by my grandfath…

The Papal Chapel of Good Friday in 1936

The Papal Chapel of Good Friday in 1936 The following images come from 1936, the time of Pope Pius XI, and show the papal ceremonies of Good Friday in the Sistine Chapel. Following these images we are pleased to provide a description of the papal ceremonies of the same, taken from the excellent work,  The Ceremon…

The Arfe Custodia: A Masterpiece in Silver and Gold

The Arfe Custodia: A Masterpiece in Silver and Gold Among the remarkable masterpieces of liturgical art, a tall implement developed in XVI c. Spain, the custodia, holds a special place of privilege. At once a canopy, a tower, and a bier, the custodia is intentionally conspicuous, dramatic, and somewhat otherworldly in appea…

Rare Medieval Liturgica: The Exsultet Roll

Rare Medieval Liturgica: The Exsultet Roll This Saturday, at the Easter Vigil, will be sung the hymn known as the Exsultet -- or what the Roman Missal titles the Praeconium . The authorship of this great hymn in praise of the paschal candle is suggested by the Liber Pontificalis to possibly be the fifth century pope,…