Thursday, October 13, 2011

Liturgical Arts: Another New (and Old) Chasuble for a Soon-to-be-Ordained Priest

Recently we shared with you some images of the "Lew chasuble" -- as we somewhat jestingly referred to the beautiful chasuble commissioned for the ordination of our own Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. This chasuble was in the conical style.

I noted then that I quite support the revival of this form, however, I continued, "I am always careful to point out that when I say this, I do not say it to the exclusion of other forms of the chasuble of which my personal opinion is that the most reasonable view is that which admits the same diversity the Church herself admits through her living tradition." In part my point was to suggest this general principle, but in part it was to allude to the fact that I find merit in the exploration and use of other styles from other periods as well. One such is indeed that of the 17th and 18th centuries, and here I speak not only of the cut, but also the design of many of the chasubles of this period which are often found to use rather interesting and creative textiles.

At any rate, the reason I mention all of this is because recently another friend of the NLM who is soon to be ordained shared with me a chasuble that he had commissioned as well, this time in the 18th century style. I thought it indeed would make a very nice parallel in the light of Fr. Lawrence's own commissioned pursuits -- as well as a general point of interest from the perspective of liturgical arts.

In this particular instance our friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, sought out period 18th century fabrics and trims for the vestment, finding by way of eBay an 18th century cope from Genoa that was too worn for use as a cope any longer, trimmed with silver lace (as is often found in vestments of this period):

(For those interested in these details, a textile expert suggested to him that the design is late 18th century, probably circa 1760.)

A local parishioner who wished to help our future priest offered her services with needle and thread, fashioning from the cope a five piece Low Mass set. Our future priest used Photoshop to experiment with different possible arrangements of the base textile to determine the pattern he wished the seamstress to use in fashioning the set and an appropriate lining was determined which picked up upon the colours found in the textile. In this regard we have something which is truly both old and new, and which utilized modern technologies to help make it a reality. Kudos for the creativity involved in this enterprise.

With all that, here is the beautiful result of our future priest's (and his seamstress') endeavours:

(The lining here looks white but is actually a faint blue)

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