Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holy Rosary in Indianapolis: A Parish of Many Renovations

Fr. Michael Magiera, FSSP sent into the NLM some photos from Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis, a parish that uses both forms of the Roman rite.

For the past number of years, there have been various renovations that have taken place in this parish, and they have recently completed restoring it to its more original form and configuration.

Here is an original photograph of the church taken in the 1920's:

The church underwent some changes in the 1940's and again after the Second Vatican Council.

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo to show you of the parish as it stood in that immediate post-conciliar period, but it seems a safe presumption that the gothic reredos and altar you will see below were not likely a part of those renovations.

It seems quite likely that the original altar and reredos -- seen above -- were simply removed as happened in the case of so many churches, and the imagery in the apse (which changed sometime in the mid-20th century) was likely removed around the same period.

At any rate, at some point the original altar, altar rail and the sanctuary murals had disappeared and, eventually, a gothic reredos and altar made its way into the church. An extended footpace was installed where a free-standing altar was placed:

As you can see, the walls of the apse have been covered in a rather unflattering sort of stone tile. Further, the main free-standing altar does not itself leave enough room before it that it could be used for ad orientem celebrations.

Renovations continued:

Here you can see that the former free-standing altar has been removed and a temporary sort of neo-gothic altar rail has been established near the main altar. As well, the altar that was attached to the reredos has been made moveable so that it might be pulled forward for versus populum use as well. This can be seen here:

While some of the renovations you have seen here have had various merits in their own right, the next renovation, which brings us up to this present day, shows what an even more thorough consideration of the unity of church architecture, the use of art and colour, and more permanent arrangements can add:

Apparently the altar remains unfixed -- i.e. moveable, as in the above configuration -- but the main point of focus here is the new altar and reredos which are now much more suited to the general style and architecture of the church itself.

Further, the rather unflattering and plain stone tile has been replaced with materials and paintings that approximate the original church decoration -- adding some much needed texture and colour to back into the sanctuary. The windows too have been restored in the sanctuary as well as above the side altars and the footpace has been reduced in length with some added colour to the marble.

You will also note that a more permanent and substantial altar rail (complete with gates and white which unites it better with the high altar) has now taken the place of the previously restored altar rail which was not only shorter, but much more temporary in feel, and, again, less architecturally in sync with the church generally.

The gold-leaf Latin text has also been restored above the three arches and the colour and revealing of some of the roof beams also has a fairly gratifying effect.

A final mention should be given to the replacement of the standing vigil lamp with one that, more traditionally, hangs.

All said, well done. I leave you with a slightly closer view:

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