Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Constructive ideas (literally)

August 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in passing, but I’m going to go to school to be an architect.  And I’d like to build churches.  Granted, I will not make my living building churches, but I can consider them fun mind-projects, right?  Today, we went to Mass at Sacred Heart.  I confess I spent the homily redesigning it.  These are my ideas (none to scale):

Note how the main entrance is at the back of the church, and the altar is at the front.  Side tabernacles have altars there too–I just didn’t partition the image space well.  The ambo is on the Gospel side of the church.  Also, above the narthex is the choir loft.  Oh, and I can’t forget how those are pews and not individual seats.

With this setup, their fabulous new organ can allow its sound to wash over everyone instead of drowning out their voices, which is what it does at the front of the church.  If the sound starts up high and drifts downward, it’s easier for people to hear themselves sing and not feel intimidated by the awesome sound of the organ.  The organist can also put as much feeling into playing as s/he pleases and not be distracting to the congregation.

Now… that baptismal font.

The suggested baptismal font has the immersion font flush with the ground so it may be covered.  The water level in the upper font may be lowered so all that is seen is the upper font.  It would also be located very much in the back of the church–behind where a procession would enter.

Also, Sacred Heart has some phenomenal stained-glass windows.  But the warm browns and beiges of the current setup aren’t really doing anything to emphasize their intricate beauty.  Instead, they are detracting and making the church feel more like it’s trying to be the inside of someone’s house.  My suggestions:

Computers aren’t so good with metallic colours… those would be metallic golds and silvers to accent the beautiful reds and blues of the windows, with a very light cream to make the space seem more open and light.  White would also be used for the same purpose, but it tends to be too stark.  Nonetheless, the dark colours of the rafters would be replaced with lighter base colours and lots of metallic detail to emphasize the beauty of the church and the sacredness of the space.

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9 Responses to “Constructive ideas (literally)”

  1. avatar Mike says:

    I like it.

    Just one quibble: I believe there’s a Church rule limiting the number of tabernacles to one per church building. Now I know that little technicality wouldn’t bother some of DOR’s powers-that-be, should their particular brand of progressive Catholicism some day call for two or more, but I don’t think we really want to go that route.

    BTW, that must have been one dull homily.

  2. avatar Ink says:

    Ahhh–then they’re alternate altars for daily Mass. My mistake, thanks for catching it. (I was mostly trying to mimic churches like St. Michael’s or Saint Stan’s, with the cruciform shape and all space used sacredly rather than like a conference room.)

    Nah, I’ve heard worse. When I start doing Physics in my head, then they’re really dull because that means I actually have to assign number values to things, which means approximating sizes, which means an awful lot of thinking for something I typically do on paper with a pencil.

  3. avatar Gen says:

    Major lol @ “that epic organ” in the second picture.

  4. avatar Choirloft says:

    My understand about the organ (probably second best in the area; first being at Christ Church downtown) is that it needs to be brought out front further. The sound dies before it gets out into the main body of the cathedral. Once the sound gets out further into the main body of the church, the columns still absorb much of the sound. By the time it gets to the narthex it’s a pitifully weak sounding organ. So, it’s not the organ itself; it’s the “room”. Like Ink said, and it’s very true, the organ needs to be put in the gallery. That would solve the major problem. Imagine spending all that money on upgrading the cathedral and getting a new organ and it’s now a flop.

  5. avatar Gen says:

    I also like the notion about the side altars – perhaps one for St. John Fisher and the other for the Blessed Virgin? The nice thing about side altars are that they can be used for daily/ferial Masses, even while other Masses are going on in the same building. What an impressive statement it is to see one group of priest and servers finishing a Mass at one altar, when another group is just starting at another! Talk about “the greater glory of God” . . .

  6. avatar Ink says:

    We actually sat in the way back and the organ wasn’t so much beautiful as it was loud… it wasn’t weak. Just loud. Really, really, really loud. And kind of obnoxious. It’s huuuuge though so of course it’ll make a big, beautiful sound… but to me… it just seemed too big… It definitely needs to be relocated.

    Yep, side altars are great~ My idea was one for special devotion to the Sacred Heart and then the other for the Blessed Virgin. Though St. John Fisher is a good idea too. Now to sell this idea to the bishop… =P

  7. avatar Bernie says:

    Yes. St. John Fisher and Our Lady. Definitely.
    I’m glad to see you return the Cathedral to a more traditional processional (and hierarchic) arrangement, i.e. a progression from the secular and profane (outside the front doors) to the most sacred (a taste of heaven) at the opposite end. Our liberal friends (in the secular as well as the religious world) have failed to produce a perfect world in this lifewithout any reference to God. We need a return to a vision of our real goal –eternal happiness with God in heaven.

  8. avatar Jean says:

    Get a photo of the “old” Sacred Heart and you will see a much better church–cruciform with tabernacle in the center, a real sanctuary, and two beautiful side altars–one of Our Lady. Bring in The Sacred Heart from outside and put Him where He was originally–behind the tabernacle. Bring Our Lord and His tabernacle back from His exile and enthrone Him again where He should be, in front of the high altar. Get rid of the swimming pool and put back the holy water fonts. The inconvenience of the columns is a small price to pay compared to what is there now. Bring back the pulpit in its high location. Put the organ and the choir back in the choir loft where they belong. It is GOD’S HOUSE and should look like it, not like a monument to the bishop and humanism as it is now.

  9. avatar Dr. K says:

    Get a photo of the “old” Sacred Heart and you will see a much better church–cruciform with tabernacle in the center, a real sanctuary

    Couldn’t agree more. We replaced our Lord with a musical instrument.


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