The Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama

The Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery  is an awesome sanctuary in the rolling hills of Hanceville, Alabama (Diocese of Birmingham).  Constructed in the creative footprint of the 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Shrine…

Contrasts - More Atypical Colour Combinations in Vestment Design

Contrasts - More Atypical Colour Combinations in Vestment Design We live in an age when we've become accustomed to commonly used templates for vestments. Gold and silver highlights and orphreys for example; primary colour damasks. For those more familiar with eighteenth century vestment work, pastel colours are frequently seen. So of…

Sacro Monte di Orta - The Canonization of Saint Francis by Pope Gregory IX

Sacro Monte di Orta - The Canonization of Saint Francis by Pope Gregory IX S acro Monte di Orta is a series of chapels that are of unique interest. Located in Piedmont in the north of Italy, construction began in 1583 and the original project envisioned 36 "chapels" which were dedicated to St. Francis and his order. The chapels are unique…

Book Review: Churches Their Plan and Furnishing by Peter F. Anson (Romanitas Press)

Book Review: Churches Their Plan and Furnishing by Peter F. Anson (Romanitas Press) The most delightful book I have seen on the subject of building and remodeling Catholic churches is Churches Their Plan and Furnishing by Peter F. Anson.  This easy to read and little-known softcover book has recently been republished by our good friends at Romanitas Press .…

Envisioning Old St. Peter's at the End of the Middle Ages: The Atrium and Facade

Envisioning Old St. Peter's at the End of the Middle Ages: The Atrium and Facade Old St. Peter's is a topic of endless fascination for many, inspired both by an interest in the antiquity of the basilica and also in part by a bitter-sweetness that is imparted jointly by both an appreciation for the beauty of the present basilica alongside also a sens…

Romanitas: The Display of Church Plate for Solemn Occasions and an Inquiry into Roman Origins

Romanitas: The Display of Church Plate for Solemn Occasions and an Inquiry into Roman Origins A custom found in the Roman church is the rich display of church plate -- called, in Italian, "piatto da parata" -- and the like on important and solemn occasions such as the visit of a Cardinal or at times other important feasts or occasions. Essentially the prac…

The Relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous in the USA

The Relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous in the USA The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes has organized a five-month long pilgrimage of the relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous in the United States. The special tour was prepared in partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, North American Volunteers, Hos…

Before and After; St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Before and After; St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor, Michigan C onrad Schmitt Studios recently shared a 'before and after' project which is situated at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The 120 year old church had originally contained a mural of the Ascension within its apse which, regrettably, had …

Liturgical Notes on the Solemn Pontifical Mass of the Rite of Lyon (Part 1 of 2)

Liturgical Notes on the Solemn Pontifical Mass of the Rite of Lyon (Part 1 of 2) The following is a description of the Mass of Catechumens of the rite of Lyon in its pontifical form. The Lyonese rite has long interested me and it is said that some of its features find similarities to the papal liturgy of old -- namely, as described in the Ordo Romanus P…

A Selection of Vestments from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City

A Selection of Vestments from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los Cielos) is host to many fine elements of liturgical art, not least of which its impressive collection of sacred vestments. We are fortunate that a selectio…

The Helmet of Salvation: The Art of Crafting an Amice

The Helmet of Salvation: The Art of Crafting an Amice S acra Indumenta in Connecticut are making a name for themselves with an enhanced level of quality craftsmanship (and very interesting workshops).  This brings to mind the good old days of family owned full-service design and tailoring ateliers in places like Lyon, Milan, Ge…

The Twelfth Century Chasuble of Saint-Yves

The Twelfth Century Chasuble of Saint-Yves Very few intact vestments from the medieval era remain, but one of a handful which can still be found is the so called chasuble of Saint-Yves, so named because it is found in the French church of St. Yves de Louannec. An interesting design feature of the chasuble is the sli…

Two Examples of the Mitra Pretiosa

Two Examples of the Mitra Pretiosa The following mitres belong in the private collection and chapel of an Italian friend who will, of course, remain anonymous. It shows two classically designed mitra pretiosa (precious mitres) decorated in a style that was commonly seen through the period of the 16th through…

Churches of Latin America: São Francisco in Salvador, Brazil

Churches of Latin America: São Francisco in Salvador, Brazil Continuing with our consideration of some of the churches of Latin America, today we turn to the Franciscan church of São Francisco in Salvador, Brazil. With the approval of Pope Sixtus V, the first church and monastery on this site was built by the Franciscans in 1587, but…

The Art of Restoring Church Paintings with Parma Conservation

The Art of Restoring Church Paintings with Parma Conservation Art restoration is a major component of the liturgical arts.  Just as words edify the ears so also images stimulate the eyes and satisfy the soul.  Church paintings, murals, marouflaging images on architectural surfaces (designs painted on canvas and adhered to walls), and …

Avoiding Symbol and Image Overload in Contemporary Vestment Design

Avoiding Symbol and Image Overload in Contemporary Vestment Design There is, arguably, a renaissance in vestment design that is taking place, however as with any rebirth there are bound to be some occasional growing pains. One of the trends I've been observing, which is driven as much by the consumer of these items as any motives of th…

Regional Variations on the Surplice: Venetian and Hispanic

Regional Variations on the Surplice: Venetian and Hispanic In the realm of vestments we have featured how there are different regional cuts that can be observed. While these are not hard and fast divisions, they represent trends particular to a region; sometimes they represent an older tradition that has been maintained in a partic…

An Introduction to Martin Earle Sacred Art and Furnishings

An Introduction to Martin Earle Sacred Art and Furnishings Today I wished to introduce you to some of the work of Martin Earle of Martin Earle Sacred Art and Furnishings . Martin is based out of England and studied at the Royal College of Art. His work ranges from first millennium iconographic depictions (a shared tradition of both …

Another Approach to Memento Mori on Vestments

Another Approach to Memento Mori on Vestments Typically when we think of memento mori on chasubles, we've focused on the use of skulls, but of course there were other expressions, particularly as skulls went on the 'outs' during the mid 19th century. Another expression that took place was to include other s…

The Art of Making Altar Breads

The Art of Making Altar Breads In the past many parishes made their own altar breads,  produced from wheat that is unleavened (without yeast).  Some still make their own, with dedicated volunteers helping out on a regular schedule.  Also, there are a handful of monasteries that still make, sell, and dist…