Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Saint Pius Tenth Rebuild Design is Catholic

June 25th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie


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Plans and drawings for a new church have been created and presented to Saint Pius Tenth parishioners (see the official “Rebuild” page HERE).

In Summary:

  1. The exterior looks like a church.
    1. It looks like a Catholic church.
      1. It employs a traditional hall-basilica plan with clerestory windows.
      2. It makes use of a figurative “rose window” in the front facade, reminiscent of Gothic churches from our Catholic tradition.
      3. A covered walkway across the exterior of the front suggests a medieval Romanesque cloister, an aspect of our Catholic monastic heritage.
  2. It is clearly orthodox in its arrangement.
    1. The altar is the focus of the entire interior space. It does not share equally with a pulpit and it is in the center of the chancel, not off center as some Rochester churches have located it.
  3. It is orthodox in its imagery. The meaning and understanding of the Mass as the sacrifice of Calvary made present is clearly communicated by appropriate imagery.
    1. A large prominent crucifix is suspended above the altar.
    2. The altar looks like an altar of sacrifice and not just another table (it is solid with appropriate imagery)
    3. The mural-like Last Supper scene reminds us of the institution of the Eucharist (the Last Supper as “making present” beforehand the sacrifice that was to follow on Good Friday).
    4. The “sky” above the Last Supper scene is filled with angels suggesting the simultaneous celebration of the heavenly hosts.
  4. It is Catholic.
    1. The tabernacle is situated in a central and prominent location.
    2. There is an abundance of prominent orthodox imagery that predisposes worshipers to receive the graces of the sacraments.
    3. the altar looks like an altar and not just a table.
    4. There is at least some sense of hierarchy: the chancel is raised higher than the nave by the traditional 3 steps. The celebrant’s chair and tabernacle are further raised another step higher.
    5. It would appear from the drawings that the figures and scenes will be rendered in a natural manner: not grossly distorted/abstracted or overly realistic. A sense of redeemed or “divinized” nature will be communicated by way of the rendering of the figures. If the “mural” will be on etched glass the impression of transcendence will be further enhanced.

I wish there was a ciborium or baldacchino over the altar.

It is interesting, I think to compare the Saint Pius Tenth plans with the ones for the proposed chapel at Saint John Fisher College that I reviewed, HERE.



7 Responses to “Saint Pius Tenth Rebuild Design is Catholic”

  1. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I wonder what the plans would be for celebrating ad orientem for either the old or the new Mass… it’d sure be nice if they had a high altar or a way to push the free-standing altar up against the wall. I’m not sure how that’s typically handled these days, but I think it should be in the plans (maybe it is and I’m missing something?).

  2. avatar Bernie says:

    The Ordinariate folks celebrate ad orientem using that same arrangement. Actually, TLMC is the same set-up if you think about it. A wall is not needed. Just enough room in front of the altar.

  3. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    The Ordinariate made do with what they had, but I think it was obviously less than the ideal. STA is a different thing entirely – since there isn’t a wall close by, it doesn’t seem so awkward.

    I think the proposed spx layout would make ad orientam worship quite awkward (which would discourage its use at just the moment that the prefect for the CDWS has urged every pastor to do most of the Mass that way). Why not extend the tabernacle platform out and add a high altar? (perhaps even add a reredos)?

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m impressed with SPX’s design and very encouraged by it, but I think it’s a shame if ad orientam worship is such an afterthought. Just as we shouldn’t judge our own interior lives by looking around us and saying, “well, I’m doing much better than him” or back to our past, “well, I’m doing much better than I was” I don’t think we should necessarily be too comfortable with the thought, “well, it looks much better than it did”.

  4. avatar snowshoes says:

    I agree with you Ben. I praise the good work which has gone into the design. It has been a labor of love. I don’t know if anything specific has been done regarding the acoustical engineering of the church to ensure that amplification is unnecessary. I hope the choir will be moved to the new choir loft, along with the real pipe organ. Thousands of dollars can be saved with good acoustics, which will obviate a sound system. I go to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker now because of the choir being “upfront”. It does not belong there. A choir/music ministry should be the opposite of children: heard but not seen. And not amplified either. If they can’t be heard without amplification, they don’t belong there. Get another one. St. Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us. (He didn’t allow amplification of the choir in his cathedral!)

  5. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    In this drawing there appears to be NO KNEELERS. I hope this is an oversight by the artist and not the plan.

  6. avatar raymondfrice says:

    I still have problems with the celebrant having his back facing the tabernacle, appearing to turn his back on Him. Perhaps placing it a few feet to the left so we can see the priest and the tabernacle simultaneously.??

  7. avatar militia says:

    I would prefer Novus Ordo ad orientem — better the priest should turn his back on me rather than on the Tabernacle.

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