Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Wreckovated Church Gets Un-wrecked

The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, has begun the process of undoing the comically awful wreckovation to which it was subjected in 1980. Built and consecrated in 1878, the church’s original sanctuary looked like this. (Photographs from the parish's facebook page.) The first shows the original altar during a wedding, the second gives a better idea of the paintings on the back wall behind it.

It was changed to look like this.

No one will be surprised to hear that the comments on the facebook page linked above are overwhelming positive in favor of the proposed restoration. The administrator of Holy Name, Fr. Jim Cunningham, notes in the video below that the new arrangement of seven large… things sticking out of the floor reminded a lot of people of the transporter room on the USS Enterprise. (They were supposed, somehow, to represent the Seven Sacraments.) Towards the end of the video, he bravely demonstrates for the viewer the shabbiness of modern building materials.

Fr. Cunningham explains here that the Diocese of Brooklyn has donated to Holy Name an altar designed by the famous architect James Renwick, Jr. It was originally intended for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but proved to be too large, and was therefore installed in St. Vincent de Paul, a recently closed parish in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

Here is the proposal for the completed restoration of the sanctuary, which is being done by Connecticut-based Baker Liturgical Art.
And here is the proposal for the back of the church and the organ loft.
The parish’s website has extensive documentation of the project, which will also see the renovation of several other parts of the church, including the baptismal font and the stained-glass windows. It has also been covered by the N.Y. Daily News. Congratulations to Fr. Cunningham, to all of the parish staff, and to His Excellency Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, for undertaking this beautiful and much-needed restoration. And likewise, kudos to the faithful who have superabundantly provided the funds needed to restore their church!

If you are undertaking a similar project of de-wreckovating a church, NLM will be happy to write about it. Send pictures, articles, links etc. to my email address, linked above on my picture. (

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