Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Dedication of a New Church in Aiken, SC, February 2, 2015

On February 2nd, the feast of Candlemas, His Excellency Robert Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, will dedicate the church of St Mary, Help of Christians, in the city of Aiken. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., and be celebrated in the Ordinary Form; the church is located on Fairfield Street, just north of Park Avenue. The parish was founded in 1853, but has now grown to the point where the current church building is completely inadequate to the size of the congregation; the new building has the capacity to seat 1000. The design is entirely the work of McCreary Architects, who provided us with some images of their designs; the project is scheduled to be completed very shortly. We hope to provide images of the dedication ceremony shortly after it takes place; thanks to those who provided us with these images.

Update: Fr Gregory Wilson, the pastor of St Mary, has sent in photos of some of the church’s furnishing, which I have added below.

An aerial view of the new church
interior view
the west façade
Fr Renaurd West, a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, took these photos back in December; the works have of course advanced considerably since then. In my personal opinion, the mosaic work on the main altar is some of the best of its kind that I have ever seen in a modern church. The architects, designers and clergy involved in this project are much to be commended for a beautiful church in a classical style which embraces and respects the Catholic artistic tradition. 

The front of the main altar
The baldacchino 

The tabernacle will be housed on an altar at the back of the church, against the wall of the apse.
construction of the main façade 
construction of the apse
ongoing work on the interior
The church will also feature a series of twenty decorative medallions by Mrs Alice Judd, each of which is based on a title of the Virgin Mary. These will decorate the roundels in the arcade of the nave, the transepts and the sanctuary.

From Fr Wilson: two more of the medallions.

The sanctuary lamp was rescued from a closed church in Philadelphia.
A crucifix from a closed church in Belgium will be installed in the church; it is about 70” tall, carved by hand ca. 1870. 
The tabernacle is also from Belgium around 1870.

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