March 10, 2009

New Chapel at Thomas Aquinas Finished

This weekend I was fortunate to have been on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College (my alma mater, undergraduate) to celebrate the dedication of the brand new Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. The chapel only seats about 600, even with overflow, so I wasn't enough of a VIP to attend the actual dedication itself, but the college has posted up photos from the event, which I will attach to the next post.

I was able to however attend the first Mass the day after the dedication, a Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the head of the Fraternity of St. Peter, Fr. Berg, a graduate of TAC in 1993. As an interesting liturgical aside, there seems to have been zero problems having the Traditional Latin Mass in the new church, as well as the Ordinary form, or Novus Ordo Mass as well. Blogger, and prolific Matt Alderman has written an excellent piece in First Things about preparing new Catholic churches for the use of both forms of the Mass, and it's great to see a new church functional for both.

One commentator here thought the church was renovated or was in Italy, but no, it's BRAND NEW. This church is in my opinion the best church built in America in the last 40 to 50 years. I'd be hard pressed to find a more beautiful church built since World War II anywhere else in the world. There are a few others which are fine churches, though as I said, very few, and certainly none that have been built in my lifetime even come close. If someone can find one I'd love to see it.

We are, it should be said, in just the opening stages of a renaissance with New Classicism and the church's few minor quirks are only to be expected. When one can honestly say that 30 years ago there were probably just a handful of Classical architects working in the world, and nothing like this was being built anywhere. The few practitioners there were out there were only able to preserve so much knowledge. Today we can see how far we've come in such a short time, but also knowing that this is only the beginning, and much is yet to be discovered and learned anew.

TAC's chapel isn't perfect, and though it is hard to believe today, but new and BETTER churches will be built. This church is the sign that we can do it. It is a sign to architects everywhere to what is possible. It is sign to the all churches of what a sacred place can be, and how beauty can exist.


Joannie said...

I've been waiting to see pictures of this, and I found your blog through another. It IS beautiful! I recently saw another stunning example of how these churches can still be built-- outside of Knoxville, TN-- St John Neumann. I don't really like the clouds in the apse, but other than that, the church is a masterpiece. Every detail is catechetical.
(You can see more detail if you scroll halfway down the page and click on the different architectural aspects of the church. It really is amazing in person.)

Steve S. said...

You've alluded to the shortcomings in the design, I'd be interested if you could expand upon what these are. I don't mean to nitpick the design, I'm just interested in how the intellectual drought in the profession has affected the practice of traditional architecture.

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Francis said...

Do you have a link for Alderman's article?

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