Monday, February 11, 2008

Sanctuary Renovation: St. Mary's in South Dakota

Recently one of our priestly readers sent in these photographs of his parish of St. Mary's in South Dakota.

This particular parish celebrates both forms of the Roman liturgy -- always a good thing to hear of. In fact, there are various encouraging developments in this parish as regards the liturgy.

I wanted to share with you a recent renovation they undertook which involved modification to the reredos as well as to the sanctuary ceiling.

Here is the old sanctuary as it looked just prior to the renovations beginning:

Now the original altar and sanctuary were nice enough as you can see -- although the Pieta scene seemed a little short for being the pinnacle of a gothic reredos. However, all that is in the past now. Compare that to the striking new additions:

Atop the reredos the Pieta scene has been replaced by a lovely new rood like scene of Christ crucified and Our Lady and St. John. While this is quite nice, I am particularly impressed with the re-painting of the ceiling in a striking deep blue, ornamented with gold stars. This latter feature on gothic-vaulted ceilings is one of my favourite ways to immediately vivify such structures. To me this continues to drive home that the tasteful, mediaeval sort of use of colour and detailing can do wonders within a parish such a this.

In fact, some of you may even recall me suggesting something similar for this parish exactly a year ago this month (the picture to the left is what it looks like today; to the right, a possible modification):

(It is worth noting that the red colour was intended to also show some kind of gold iconic stencilling to break up the colour somewhat and add a further layer of ornamentation.)

Back to St. Mary's, South Dakota, here are a few more images from the parish.

For those wondering who did the work on this restoration, I am told the firm was Conrad-Schmitt Studios based out of Wisconsin.

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