Monsignor Richard.J. Schuler on Art, Music & Beauty in the Liturgy

Monsignor Richard.J. Schuler on Art, Music & Beauty in the Liturgy The late great Msgr. Richard Schuler (1920 - 2007) was an old mentor and friend of mine from my native Minnesota.  Ordained in 1945, Msgr. Schuler was a proud priest of the Diocese of St. Paul (Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis).  Many of his fans, myself, included, …

Eucharistic Utensils

Eucharistic Utensils As we live through this 21st century plague with growing concerns regarding the transmission of diseases through the species of Holy Communion, it is interesting to examine the different forms of receiving holy communion with utensils that the Latin Church has employed thr…

Liturgical Treasures from the Cathedral Museum of Krakow

Liturgical Treasures from the Cathedral Museum of Krakow Wawel Cathedral Museum in Krakow, Poland, is home to some very interesting treasures of liturgical art and while I do not have any specific historical information on the following pieces, they are well worth showing regardless. (Many thanks to Nicola de Grandi who took thes…

The Noble Simplicity of the Traditional Sanctuary Order

The Noble Simplicity of the Traditional Sanctuary Order Readers may recall that I have spoken of the noble beauty and simplicity that is to be found in traditional sanctuary arrangements  of the Latin rite. For those who do not recall, it is my contention that these traditional arrangements, taken in their core essentials, prese…

Portable Altars in Malta

Portable Altars in Malta Our recent post on house chapels drew a fair bit of interest and in particular the so-called "wardrobe altar" and so it seemed like a good opportunity to share an exhibition that took place in Malta in the around 1999-2000. The exhibition in question was on "…

Lenten Veils from the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Segovia. A Reconstruction.

Lenten Veils from the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Segovia. A Reconstruction. The hanging of painted Lenten Veils was a very popular and ancient custom in Spain. In many churches and cathedrals one may still see the hooks and mechanisms used to hoist up these immense curtains. For a few weeks a year, the interior of the church was completely transfor…

Private Chapels Brought to Light by Social Distancing

Private Chapels Brought to Light by Social Distancing The Book of Job famously teaches that "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" but He also gives back again and in the light of the cancellation of so many public Masses, many priests have taken to live-streaming their private Masses to help keep the faithful c…

Before and After: St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull, Connecticut

Before and After: St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull, Connecticut LAJ is pleased to present yet another example in our "Before and After" series, coming this time within the context of St. Catherine of Siena church in Trumbull, Connecticut. The project was undertaken by the parish in partership with Duncan G. Stroik Architect . …

The Daily Procession at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Daily Procession at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem One of the great privileges of my life has been to bring pilgrims to the Holy Land and to introduce them and encourage them to participate in local liturgical functions that will stir their imaginations, evoking dazzling beauty and sentiments of devotion and reflection.  A…

Art for the Domestic Church from Daniel Mitsui

Art for the Domestic Church from Daniel Mitsui The following comes from Daniel Mitsui , who some of you will remember for his custom drawn altar cards  which we featured here on LAJ shortly after this site began: "In order to slow the spread of disease, many churches have suspended their public liturgical celebratio…

Singing on High: The Gloria Laus Ceremony of Palm Sunday in Medieval France

Singing on High: The Gloria Laus Ceremony of Palm Sunday in Medieval France The eminent 18th century liturgist Claude de Vert’s work is a wealth of picturesque knowledge about the pre-Revolutionary Gallican Church. We have previously discussed the key role he played in the anti-allegorical turn in liturgical studies. But in this place his rationali…

A Brief Consideration of the Historical Use of Oriental Silks in European Vestments

A Brief Consideration of the Historical Use of Oriental Silks in European Vestments While the silk trade would eventually spread, the history of silk is inextricably tied up with the Orient and the ancient Silk Road ; a trade route that connected the civilizations of East and West. By means of these trade routes precious silks were exported from the Orient…

The Patriarchal Co-Cathedral of the Diocese of Jerusalem

The Patriarchal Co-Cathedral of the Diocese of Jerusalem I have always said one of Jerusalem's best kept secrets inside the walls of the city is the Co-Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, located at the Latin Patriarchate in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem.  This chapel, ordinarily closed to the public, is in some w…

An Eighteenth Century Chasuble with Scenes from the Life of St. Charles Borromeo

An Eighteenth Century Chasuble with Scenes from the Life of St. Charles Borromeo As a general rule I am not usually a fan of "scenic" chasubles, but normally this is because they lack the usual compositional elements like the cross and column orphreys. This particular example presents another variation where the chasuble is treated as a scenic…

The Isenheim Crucifixion

The Isenheim Crucifixion "For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him." -- Isaiah 53:2-3 Matthias Grünewald must have been thinking about these prophetic ver…

A Contemporary Black Vestment Set with Memento Mori: Theorized and Realized

A Contemporary Black Vestment Set with Memento Mori: Theorized and Realized It was around All Souls Day 2018 that I first wrote my article,  A Contemporary Case for the Inclusion of Memento Mori on Black Vestments . In that piece I commented:

A Peritus of the Second Vatican Council on the Church and Modernistic Art in the Liturgy

A Peritus of the Second Vatican Council on the Church and Modernistic Art in the Liturgy The Second Vatican Council's most competent American peritus  was the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas, Ph.D., Agg. S.T.D. et M (1896-1969).  Catholics of today should know his name.  In the 1960s he was labeled a "staunch conservative" by the Catholic press. …

A Good Friday Chasuble from Twentieth Century Lithuania

A Good Friday Chasuble from Twentieth Century Lithuania Earlier this week we shared a couple of "memento mori" chasubles and while in the process of discovering those, this example also turned up.  The chasuble is another coming from the Archdiocese of Vilnius in Lithuania and is dated to approximately 1909.The chasub…

Episcopal Prelatial Dress in Eighteenth Century New Spain

Episcopal Prelatial Dress in Eighteenth Century New Spain The Codex Trujillo is an encyclopedic work compiled by bishop Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón of Trujillo, Peru, at the end of the 18th century. It is a detailed ethnographic examination of many aspects of life of his diocese, including the different tribes, dresses, lang…

Two ''Memento Mori' Chasubles

Two ''Memento Mori' Chasubles On All Souls Day in the year 2018, I made a case for the inclusion of "Memento Mori" on Black vestments  -- which is to say, " imagines mortuorum " (images of the dead). In a nutshell, I would argue that we live in a time where the illusion of immortality …

Pope John Paul II's Oriental Influenced Chasuble

Pope John Paul II's Oriental Influenced Chasuble Proper inculturation in the liturgical arts is a subject that has always been of great interest to me, and some of the very best examples of it have often come from the Orient. Here one often sees the distinctive architectural and artistic themes of that region successfull…

Lenten Veils Discovered in Church Attic and Restored

Lenten Veils Discovered in Church Attic and Restored We have spoken here before on the subject of Lenten Veils ( Fastentuch ) but to re-cap, a Lenten veil is a large veil that is hung up before an altar or its reredos during Lent. Veils such as these first arose in the Middle Ages and they were most commonly made of white line…

Before and After: St. Stephen's in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Before and After: St. Stephen's in Grand Rapids, Michigan Continuing on with yet another instalment in our popular "Before and After" series, we turn today to the parish of St. Stephen's in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While the parish itself was founded in 1924, the present church building stems from additions and renov…

Duncan Stroik's Chapel at Hillsdale College

Duncan Stroik's Chapel at Hillsdale College It has been a bit since we have had the opportunity to feature an architectural project and today I wanted to turn our readers' attention to Christ Chapel at Hillsdale College in Michigan, executed by Duncan Stroik, Architect . The work of Duncan Stroik is perhaps best …

Treasures from Vilnius (Part One)

Treasures from Vilnius (Part One) An absolute priority for any sacred art connoisseur visiting the beautiful city of Vilnius is the fantastic Museum of Church Heritage, founded by Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis in 2005. It occupies the church and monastery of St Michael the Archangel, just across the street…

Fit For Neri: A Well Tailored Chasuble in the "Neri" Form

Fit For Neri: A Well Tailored Chasuble in the "Neri" Form I was thinking recently that I hadn't spent a great deal of time, to date, showcasing contemporary Borromean or  so-called "Neri" style chasubles -- that is, the chasubles that came after the middle ages and before the baroque, sitting (by varying degrees) ha…

Revisiting the Liturgical Embroidery of the Sisters of Bethany

Revisiting the Liturgical Embroidery of the Sisters of Bethany I recently made reference to the historical vestment work of the Sisters of Bethany in the U.K. and it put me to mind of an old article that I asked gothic revival expert, Fr. Anthony Symondson, SJ, to write a decade ago for NLM. I thought it would be of interest to resurre…

The Rationale

The Rationale The "Rationale" is one of those vestments that is both rare and yet comes up relatively frequently -- perhaps for reason of its visual prominence -- though usually attached to the question of, "what is it?" The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say of i…

The Incense Boat

The Incense Boat Recently we looked at some different historical designs for the thurible , and today I wished to focus on the boat. For those not familiar, the "boat" is the vessel that carries the loose, unburnt incense. Why is it called the "boat"? Quite simply for re…

A Vestment by Gothic Revival Master Sir Ninian Comper at Walsingham

A Vestment by Gothic Revival Master Sir Ninian Comper at Walsingham Dr. Allan Barton -- who also writes for LAJ from time to time -- is the author of the very excellent Medieval Art site and recently I came across an article  that he wrote in 2016 where he discusses a chasuble that crossed his path. Despite the site's name, this chasubl…

Church of the Assumption Restored by Conrad Schmitt Studios

Church of the Assumption Restored by Conrad Schmitt Studios One of the oldest and most beautiful altars in the American Midwest is the high altar of the church of the Assumption in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.  This phenomenal work of interior finishing should forever redound to the credit and honor of the first pioneer parishione…

The Ongoing Evolution of a Newly Commissioned Traditional Altar

The Ongoing Evolution of a Newly Commissioned Traditional Altar Early on in the new year we featured a new altar by Jasper and Scheer Liturgical Art  at North American Martyrs Parish in Edmonds, Washington. We told the story of this project in that first piece so I won't repeat it here, but at that time only the altar itself had bee…

Some Forms of the Thurible or Censer

Some Forms of the Thurible or Censer If you were to ask any Ceremoniere or head server what the most popular serving role is, they would no doubt tell you: "thurifer." The role of thurifer (i.e the server who carries the thurible or censer) no doubt has this appeal for reason of its "theatrical…

Scourges, Maniples and More

Scourges, Maniples and More In December of 2019, LAJ published an article on a pontifical set of vestments from the  16th-17th century, located in the Sistine Chapel . With Lent fast coming upon us, I wished to highlight a couple of the designs from that set which may have not gained sufficient attenti…

Reconstruction of the Church of St. Cecilia in the Wisconsin Dells

Reconstruction of the Church of St. Cecilia in the Wisconsin Dells In all my travels throughout the world I have seen various new churches that work and others that fail.  I have to say how incredibly impressed I was in seeing this new construction project of the Church of St. Cecilia in the Wisconsin Dells.  Great job to everyone who had…

Two Ornamental Bindings from Brindisi

Two Ornamental Bindings from Brindisi Recently we discussed liturgical book coverings  with a specific focus on those made of fabric that covered the binding of the book itself. In addition to these, however, there is also another tradition which saw the binding itself directly ornamented. There are many exampl…

Seven Holy Founders Altar in the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago

Seven Holy Founders Altar in the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago On February 17 Church celebrates feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Ordo Fratrum Servorum Sanctae Mariae . First Servites were a group of affluent Florentine merchants who under strong Marian inspiration left the world to devote themselves to the life of prayer and pen…

Prelatial Dress of the Religious Orders: The Dominicans

Prelatial Dress of the Religious Orders: The Dominicans Previously in our series,  Prelatial Dress of the Religious Orders , we have considered the Carmelites , Benedictines  and Franciscans ; today we turn our attention to the Dominicans, otherwise known as the Order of Preachers. As with the other religious orders, the traditiona…