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Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone: Part II, Mission June 14, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The first part covered Mission Concepion, this post covers Mission San Francisco de la Espada.

I again will give some coverage of the general and liturgical history of the mission, while sharing a number of photographs I took.  Mission Espada – and in particular the chapel – fell into more complete ruins than just about any of the missions.  Mission San Jose experienced a horrific roof/wall collapse in the 1890s during Mass – no death toll was reported, but it gives an idea of the decrepitude into which these structures were allowed to slide.  When locals finally took notice of the significance of these decayed treasures, protestants played a significant role in funding and restoring all the missions.  Strangely enough.

The main facade of the chapel is really about all that is original to the structure.  Most of the rest of the building was replaced in the 20th century.  You can see at the top the local bricks which were made by natives and were used in the construction of this mission.  These are supposed to be some of the first masonry bricks made in Texas.

The door is an interesting shape and attracts a good amount of intention.  It is shaped almost like a keyhole.  I do not think the doors are original.  They are heavily weathered but being cedar I would guess they are somewhere on the order of 80-100 years old.  Again, most of the original doors, furnishings, statues, and even stone structure of the original missions was removed by locals – primarily the descendants of the natives who originally occupied the missions – for their own private use from the 1790s onwards as the missions were forcibly secularized by the Spanish government and the mission communities rapidly fell apart thereafter.

The bells are still functional, and these are the pulls they use to ring them at the start of Mass to this day.  I did not get a clear answer on whether the bells are original or not, but it was great to see a parish that still has real bells and uses them – though not for calling the Angelus, unfortunately.

Another shot showing the interior of the door and the pull cords for the bells.  The stucco interior is a 20th century replacement.

As I said, these chapels are still in regular use.  I had to go to Mission Espada and Mission San Juan twice, in the first case because a Confirmation? was going on, and the second because Mission San Juan is really only on Sundays for Mass and occasionally for special events.

But I’m a trooper, and went back the next day, Sunday, to visit the chapels when I knew they would be open but empty. You can get a sense for the small size of the chapels, this one, I would estimate, is about 3/4 the size of the local Carmelite chapel. Some Dallasites will know how small that is.

Mission Espada has been as thoroughly wreckovated as any of the missions.  While it is gratifying to see a tabernacle in all of them, altar rails and high altars were all removed at some point.

These statues are wonderful, and if not original to the mission they are close period pieces or excellent replicas.  I’m quite certain the statue of our suffering Savior is of Spanish Colonial origin, but I’ll get to that later.

Some kind of structure remains where the proper pre-conciliar altar would have been.  I saw these in two of the missions, a large stone or concrete block.  I am imagining it formed the basic structure of the original altars before they were removed.

Mission Espada contains no trace that I could detect of the original altar or altar rails, which is sad, since at least replicas of the originals or some kind of pre-conciliar replacement would have been in place during the general restoration of the 1920s-30s.

Beautiful statue of Our Lady.  I do love the polychrome.  I don’t what vintage the crucifix is, but it was also very pretty though shunted off to the side and largely blocked by flowers.

Sorry the lighting is so poor on this, even with flash the image was shrouded in shadows. This is a magnificent colonial era crucifix, or a great replica.  The hair would be real human hair, as was the custom min the Spanish colonies.  Polychromed, and possibly carved by local natives, whether they were original natives to these missions or not.  There was no one around to answer any questions about Mission Espada or any of the remaining art.

This is a glorious statue and so evocative of both the period and Spanish liturgical style generally.  The joints are bunched up because the arms can be repositioned for various poses, though I doubt anyone has dared to do that with this statue in many years.  Amazing that such craftsmanship could be achieved with nothing but hand tools.  I imagine all the interior mechanisms are wood.  I have no idea what condition they are in, or whether they have various fabrics with which to dress Our Savior for different festivals or liturgical periods.  I tend to think not.

I also don’t know how old these pews are – they look quite old and worn – but was again amazed by their quality given that they are probably at least a century or so old, and could be quite older.  Again, nothing but hand tools like chisels and awls made such sturdy, long-lasting pews.  Very impressive to an amateur woodworker like me.

Ceiling.  I just love how that aged cedar looks.

St. Francis.

Out of time, I’ll try to post more tomorrow.  And I plan on covering my favorite, the most traditional, liturgically, Mission San Juan Capistrano.

One thing that strikes me is that absolutely NONE of this would exist if the Church had the same attitude towards evangelization then that it has today.  The Church has truly been betrayed by her own, she is almost unrecognizable from her historical self.

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone June 8, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, history, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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So this past weekend, after probably close to 100 lifetime visits to the San Antonio area, I finally went and visited the four Spanish Mission parishes that are still extant in the southern part of town.  Yes there is technically a fifth, San Antonio de Valero aka The Alamo, but that site has nothing of a religious character left to it and is always annoyingly crowded.

I took a lot of pictures, and want to give some assessment both of the history of each mission – especially it’s liturgical history and changes since the Council – and its current state, so I will cover one mission each in a post on a different day.  First up, the first we went to Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, aka Mission Concepcion.  I’ll sort of scroll through with some pics and provide a rolling commentary:

Mission Concepcion was begun in San Antonio in 1731.  The actual mission building you see above was started in 1740 and completed in 1755.  Of all the San Antonio missions, Mission Concepcion is by far the most architecturally intact, having been built on bedrock, in never experienced near total collapse as several other of the missions did during the period of their abandonment and neglect from circa late 1790s to 1880s.  What you see above is largely how it would have appeared in its heyday, except for the missing white plaster/stucco and some architectural ornaments which have been lost.

The nicho above is empty, but probably held a statue at one time. Unfortunately during the long years of neglect many features of the buildings were damaged, destroyed, or stolen, including entire sets of 18 foot solid cedar doors.

Inscriptions above the main doors.  Details like this from the other missions have been loss due to the disrepair into which they fell.  But here the inscription is still largely legible though it fails to make sense to me.  Perhaps some parts are missing?

It is known that the interiors and exteriors of all the missions were covered with extensive painted frescoes done by local Indian artisans.  These details were lost on other missions due to their decay, but remain at least a little intact at Mission Concepcion.  All of these are interior frescoes, any exterior painting was lost long ago along with the stucco:

“Brother sun?”  Also perhaps a representation of the Holy Spirit.

Vandalism and lack of care caused the vast majority of the frescoes to be lost.  I was shocked how many statues had their heads shot off by bonehead Texans, Mexicans, or Tejanos back in the day.

The above is a small side chapel.

Main part of the church.  The walls have been repainted.  The sanctuary has been extensively remodeled/wreckovated.  As you will see in later posts, sometimes the high altars were permitted to remain, sometimes portions of them were removed to side chapels, and sometimes they were entirely ripped out.  The huge stone (concrete?) base of the original high altar here remains but little else.  A new table altar fronts the altar of the Immemorial Mass which was offered in these sacred buildings for decades.  At least some altar rail remains though I doubt it is ever used.

That’s definitely 18th-century era Spanish or New World Latin American painting, or a good replica.  I suspect it is genuine, but almost certainly not original to any of the missions, as most such movable art was lost years ago.

It is good to see tabernacles in all the main chapels, which held the Blessed Sacrament.  All the missions are still active parishes.

Looking back to choir loft, which is no longer used.  It is occupied with AC ducts.

Over 250 year old hand-painted Indian art.  Quite good.

Don’t know for certain, but I suspect this may be the Mission’s original altar crucifix, or a near-period piece.  It is definitely Spanish Colonial and I love the polychrome.  Is polychrome even done anymore?  It gives such a wonderful, durable finish!

Period statue.  Our Lady, but bare-headed?  I originally thought an angel, but there are angels under her feet.  I guess it’s Our Lady.

Excellent and I am quite certain original period painting of St. Francis.  Probably mid-18th century. Heavily stained with candle smoke/incense.  I love it.

Ancient baptistry.  It has drain holes, not sure how they recovered the holy water?

You can see the extreme effects 250+ years of South Texas heat, humidity, and pollution has had on the exterior.  Some portions have had to be buttressed with concrete, but most of the structure is original, unlike the other missions, which are mostly reproductions added back since the 1930s.

I don’t think either the chest/stand or tabernacle are period pieces.  This one was empty.

It is amazing to consider that all of this was built with Indian labor using nothing but simple hand tools, fulcrums, block and tackle, etc,. and that it has survived as well as it has.  The period of neglect was almost total, most of the missions were completely abandoned with Masses only held irregularly, if ever, no permanently assigned staff, no money, no maintenance, and general abandonment for extensive periods of time.  That they exist at all is an amazing testament to the Spanish design and native craftsmanship.  Though she has long been besmirched and derided in the Anglosphere, Catholic Spain continues to give, and generously, to the entire world and especially the Western Hemisphere.

And that is all.  More detail on the other missions.

There were varying levels of crowds at all the missions, with the “main mission” of Mission San Jose being the most consistently crowded.  There are not very many folks at the least modified, liturgically speaking – Mission San Juan Capistrano, my personal favorite.  We’ll hit that one next.  God willing.

What Everyone Should Have in their Bedroom…….. May 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, blogfoolery, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Our Lady, silliness, Tradition.
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………a five foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima!

What, you mean you don’t have one?

I’m being facetious, it’s not even ours, but I made the bier for Mater Dei‘s various Marian processions and the parish got this new statue, so I need to modify the bier to accommodate.  Still, I like it enough that they’re going to have a hard time getting it back………

A Little Beautiful Catholic Culture: Saint Benedict Center Sings Byrd’s Ave Verum March 29, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, religious, Restoration, Tradition, Virtue.
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This is the Saint Benedict Center in New Hampshire, the one with the catholicism.org website.  Sensus Fidelium added the following description on  Youtube:

On October 22, 2016 the Brothers and Sisters from Saint Benedict Center, with some students and volunteers, went to The Arbors of Bedford, an Assisted Living Facility in New Hampshire, to sing and play for the residents. Here is our recording of William Byrd’s Ave Verum.

Great, and really well suited to this time of Lent!

A Little Peak at Why Texans Love Their State So Much March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, family, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, silliness, Society, Victory.
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I lived in Idaho for a year and worked at a place that, because it was such a craptastic nightmare of pollution and amazing danger, had to recruit across the entire nation to bring in a flood of new engineers to replace those who constantly left.  So I wound up being a new hire working with people from Arizona, California, Michigan, etc.

Now I was actually replacing a previous UT grad who just bled “Texas is Awesome” all over the place.  He DROVE 24 hours or so back home at least every 2 or 3 months.  He bragged Texas up one side and down the other.  After he left and they hired me, I was fairly homesick.  I, too, lamented having to leave Texas and especially Austin (OK, a, it was different then, and b, I was all of 22), and probably described how awesome it was.  And it drove my co-workers nuts.  They kept asking me, “what’s so great about it, what’s so great about it?”  I had a hard time describing it.

I think those who haven’t lived here for an appreciable length of time can comprehend the extent of the love affair many Texans – natives or transplants – have for this place.  As to the why…….it’s hard to explain.  Texas has its own, very dramatic, history. It was an independent nation.  It is huge.  The food is varied and awesome (Whataburger!).  The women are gorgeous, prettier than any other state I’ve been to, though some other southern states come close.  Cowboys, the oil industry, the ranching, Hispanics that have been in Texas longer than Mexico has been a nation, the huge wide open sky which some easterners used to tall trees and narrow vistas find oppressive.

It has the most varied geography of pretty much any state in the union including maybe even Alaska and California.  You can be in deep East Texas piney woods that look like Alabama, the Rocky Mountains, or flat unbroken scrub brush desert.  But the heart of it all, the prettiest, best part, to me, anyway, is the Hill Country.  I fell in love with the Hill Country in college and have adored it ever since.

The people are generally awesome, too, but we are getting too many and the urban areas have become more and more generic Top 10 market type places. So don’t think about moving here!  There’s snakes everywhere and black widows and you have to rinse the sand out of your coffee cup every morning and its hotter n’ blazes n……..

Seriously, Texas also has a deep Catholic heritage that the fading protestant majority has tried to minimize but which this video gives at least some recognition to.  It’s from the early 60s and is in good color.  You can see the fields of wild bluebonnets that are just about to start blooming, among the Indian Paintbrush and the Firewheel and Mexican Hat and others. There is even a brief shot of a TLM at an ancient mission in South Texas.  German immigrants, of which my wife is a pureblood descendant, get a mention.  Her father is one of the dwindling speakers of Texas German.

Texans I think will really enjoy this video, even though it is possibly a bit hokey and juvenile.  Outsiders will lament and gnash their teeth in great jealousy.  Clear streams with white limestone bottoms, oak and cedar trees, white rock cliffs and rolling coastal pastures, mountain laurels…….my wife and kids are going to Pipe Creek next week, and I have to stay and work. I know everything will be wonderfully in bloom. Waaaahhhhh!

Some Nice Traditional Catholic Culture For You February 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition, Virtue.
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From the great guys at JMJHF Productions, some beautiful chant sung in an old church in Juarez around Christmas.  Wish I could have been there.  Chant like this is very rarely heard in Mexico in these days, especially northern Mexico, always so deleteriously influenced by these United States. I’m sure it was even more amazing in person.  Even though Christmas season officially ended yesterday, we’re still in Epiphany and Septuagesima does not start until next week, so enjoy!

 

Father Rodriguez on Devotion to Our Lady…… December 5, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, persecution, priests, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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…….and the end of the liturgical  year.  You know me, I have to upload pretty much any material from Fr. Michael Rodriguez that goes public.  He just helped me out this weekend with advice on a thorny moral problem afflicting someone dear to me.  Please keep him in your prayers, his situation in El Paso remains difficult, to say the least; he is a priest in good standing and is doing much good work but he still has no official assignment/role with the Diocese.  The powers that be rarely, especially in a fallen age such as ours,  like having their failings called out, and the failings of Church leadership locally and universally have been as spectacular as they have been numerous in recent decades.  These are the times that try good men’s souls, indeed.

Father ties in devotion to Our Lady with the end of the liturgical year, demonstrating how it is so appropriate for the liturgical year to end on a Saturday, Our Lady’s day.  As we should end each day with devotion to Our Lady, so the liturgical year ends.  He also discusses the Salus Populi Romani, a sacred image of Our Lady painted by St. Luke on a table top built by Our Blessed Lord (I was not aware of that last detail until now).

It’s a short video and well worth your time, I think you’ll pick up several amazing bits regarding this sacred painting and evidence of devotion to Our Lady going back to the early Church.  Of course, it was popular demand, indicating immense devotion of very long practice, that drove the 4th century Council of Ephesus to dogmatically define, as required of belief by all the faithful, that Our Lady is truly the Mother of God, and eminently worthy of veneration and emulation.

Some Good Local Catholic Art…….. September 30, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, fun, General Catholic, Glory.
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……and then have a nice weekend.

Reader SL is also an artist, a couple of whose works I have posted before.  He has a new one I like quite a bit:

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And a previous work:

dsc_0098

I’m off.  I pray you have a blessed weekend.

Pray for Norcia August 24, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, Christendom, disaster, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, manhood, religious, sadness, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I had heard, vaguely, about an earthquake in Italy this morning, but I had no idea it struck so near to Norcia, a site very dear to all Catholics, but orthodox American Catholics especially, due to the admirable Benedictine community there.  In fact, at this very multinational company at which I now work,I heard a co-worker from Italy being queried about this earthquake and lunchtime; apparently, he had been in touch with some family and they were ok, but some could not be found.  So, I certainly pray for him.

The good news is that the community in Norcia relates that none of the monks were injured.  That’s especially cheering to me, since we know one of them at least a little.  The bad news is that the basilica and other facilities they have spent such great effort refurbishing and restoring have suffered significant damage. Even worse, ongoing aftershocks have forced all the monks but two to relocate to Rome for the time being.  They are being hosted by the generosity of the Benedictine international headquarters at St. Anselmo, while two brothers remain in Norcia to watch over their monastery, sleeping in tents outside for safety.

The monks are asking for, first, prayer support, and, secondly, financial support.  They are going to incur significant expenses, it may be expected, returning the basilica and other facilities to their former condition.  Donations may be made here.

This is a very good community that is doing quite a bit of good work to try to restore a much more authentic practice of religious life in the Church today. One of their foremost concerns in this time of trial, as related by Rorate, was their ability to maintain the order of the Rule while they must relocate and undergo what must be a severe trauma.  I am certain that with God’s grace they will succeed in doing so with little difficulty.  The final note from the monks, that I’ve seen:

Please continue to pray for our community, and consider giving a gift (https://en.nursia.org/donations/) to help our effort to rebuild.

May God bless and sustain them, and shower them in His infinite mercy.

Please also, of course, maintain all those others suffering through this disaster in your prayers.  The last I heard was 140 dead, with many more injured.  The toll may continue to rise.  Apparently, many of the small villages around Norcia were particularly devastated.  We do not know why it pleases God to allow such things to happen, but we do know that He causes great good to come from them if we cooperate with His Grace.

Damage to the sanctuary, courtesy Rorate:

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That is so sad.

 

Catholic Irving August 4, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, family, fun, General Catholic, Interior Life, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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Just a short post of some purty pics I’ve come across lately, both related to Irving.  Irving is probably the most Catholic city I’ve ever lived in.  Given that I’ve always lived in protestant-land, that may not be saying much, but there is a slightly discernible difference, even as more and more of the Catholics, principally Hispanics, migrate to the sects.  That visible Catholicism has several sources, rooted primarily in orthodox belief and practice.  It’s the only place we’ve lived where there is a considerable concentration of convicted Catholics living within a mile or two of each other.

It’s hardly Seville at Easter or Siena in 1350, but it’s better than others.

Two pics, one taken by my wife:

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Kind of hard to see.  If you save it and open it you can blow it up to see better.

This artwork was done by a young lady that used to live with us and went to Mater Dei for a time:

sadfad

It’s called Two Hearts, One Love. It’s being displayed in an art exhibit in the Diocese of Springfield, Ill.

Rather similar to some of the glorious holy cards from times past you find at Holy Card Heaven:

sacred heart bird hand painted colorful

eternal happiness is the recompense of faitful hearts who cling to the Cross with love. Holy Evangelists - Basset copy

Speaking of holy cards, I was told the prayer below was composed by a local priest.  I haven’t researched to see if that’s true or not, but I did enjoy the prayer, but have been meaning to share it, all the same:

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Thy Son I pray; May the Precious Blood of Jesus wash over me and through me.  Let it heal any and every wound and scar, so that the devil may find no purchase in me.  Cause it to saturate and fill up my whole being; my heart, soul, mind, and body; my memory, imagination, my past and my present; every fiber of my being, every atom. 

Let there remain no part of me untouched by His Precious Blood. Make it flow over and around the altar of my heart on every side.  Fill and heal especially the wounds and scars of/caused by____________.  

These things I ask of You, Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus. Jesus, likewise, grant that the light of Your Holy Cross shine in all these same parts of me and my life, that no darkness remain where the devil may hide or have any influence. 

Mary, Refuge of Sinners, pray for me to receive these graces I ask. 

Amen.