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Glories of the Church – the Beautiful Churches and Holy Sites of Ecuador January 23, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, different religion, Father Rodriguez, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, priests, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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I thank El Paso-based JMJHF Productions for all their work, especially their continued release of excellent catechesis material from Fr. Michael Rodriguez (on which, more later, God willing), but I really really appreciate their recent uploads of one of Fr. Rodriguez’ recent annual pilgrimages to Quito, Ecuador.  The churches of Quito and its environs are shockingly, amazingly beautiful, true glories for not only the Church but the entire human race.  This is the kind of heart that makes the soul sing and gives us creatures of mud and dust the slightest glimpses of heavenly glory.   It is also the polar opposite of the modernist, often intentionally soul-crushing trash that has passed for Church art and architecture of the past 60-70 years.  This damnable trend has been intentional, as fallen men sought to remake the Church in their own image, rather than aspire to follow the Truth of Jesus Christ.

The first video shows the Procession on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Success, February 2nd. The miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success is taken from the cloistered upper choir three times a year and placed above the main altar of the Convent Church to be venerated by the public. Fr. Michael Rodríguez offered the Traditional Latin Mass daily in the Conceptionist Church & Convent–home of Our Lady of Good Success (and look at how many souls assisted!  The church is packed for a TLM, probably the first most all of these people, aside from the pilgrims (who were a tiny part of the crowd) had attended in decades, if ever). The technical name of the Church is, “Iglesia de La Limpia Concepcion”. This first monastery in Quito was established in September of 1575. Fr. Rodriguez also led pilgrims daily in praying the Holy Rosary and Novena to Our Lady of Good Success in front of the miraculous statue and gave spiritual conferences every evening on the major themes of Grace, Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Blessed be Jesus Christ and His most pure Mother!

Old town Quito is also beautiful in its own right, and also surprisingly well lit.  It looks to me like many hundreds, possibly thousands, took part in the procession.  How beautiful.  What a glorious site  Good Father Romanowski, formerly of the FSSP apostolate in Guadalajara and now pastor of a parish in Naples, FL, seems to have led the procession, in the traditional manner:

 

The next video is the one that really touches me – in both positive and negative ways.  Ecuador has never been a rich country.  Yet look at what pious souls built decades and centuries ago, out of their love for God and the Blessed Mother!  And it was only right they do so – indeed it was a positive duty –  to build the most beautiful, uplifting structures imaginable for the glory of God (which is His due) and for the good of souls. The modernist, concrete-and-sheetrock brutalist monstrosities that pass for Church construction in the past 70 years or so are the very antithesis of what is good for souls and properly due God.  Even worse, you might even say sinfully, was the willful destruction of so much beauty created in total faith by previous generations of Catholics out of a perverse desire to create a new and false religion.  Indeed, the profanation of Church art and architecture is a deliberate representation of the new religion promoted by modernist/leftists that must always stand in total opposition to the Faith of our Fathers.

There is a wide range of beauty below – parishes, basilica, cathedral, monasteries cum museums, etc.  I have always adored Spanish colonial Catholic art, and the works of Latin American devotion that flowed from it for  a century and a half after Spain lost her New World colonies.  It is beautiful, wonderful stuff, treasures for the whole human race to glory in.  These works also point to a time where the Faith was so utterly central to the lives of souls that I think we have a hard time even imagining it today, let alone emulating it in our own lives.  We are so distracted by our trinkets of technology and our unheard of riches that our comprehension of the eternal is paltry and distracted.  Perhaps I am speaking more for myself than for most of you, if so, I do not mean to cast aspersions.

I have exhausted my limited vocabulary in coming up with superlatives for this video and the Catholic treasures contained therein.  Lord, may I go to Quito or other Latin American places soon, places where the ravages of wreckovation did not occur, or were at least kept to an absolute minimum!  Look at all the altar rails!  Look at the high altars still extant, and the prie deuxs, and the wonderful elevated pulpits (use them!), and the gilt ceilings and incredible reredos and the polychrome statues and original, extremely high quality and eminently Catholic paintings and……..you get the point.  Thank you again to JMJHF Productions for putting these videos together.  I know it takes a great deal of time, and this is not their full time job.  Please consider helping them out, or the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation, which also supports the work of good souls and Fr. Rodriguez!

The full list of sites in the video is below:

Conceptionist Monastery Church (Iglesia de La Limpia Concepcion), home of Our Lady of Good Success, in which Our Lady appeared to Mother Mariana.
Santo Domingo (St Dominic)
San Agustin (St Augustine)
Carmen del Atlo (Carmelite – where St Mariana, Lily of Quito used to live)
San Francisco
Santa Catalina
La Merced
La Compania (Jesuit, perhaps most glorious Church in the Americas…)
National Basilica to the Sacred Heart
(Cathedral Metropolitana)  Basilica of the National Vow
Santa Barbara
Carmen del Bajo
Santa Teresita in La Mariscal
Church & Monastery of Guapalo
The Jesuit School where miraculous image of Our Lady of Quito is kept.

For those materialists who say, oh, this money is wasted, think of the poor who suffered want and privation when all this money was poured into churches like this – wouldn’t this money better have been spent on them, on alleviating their sufferings? But the poor we will always have with us, and I do not mean that in a cavalier manner in the least.  Instead, think of how many souls happily gave of what little they had, which was infinitely less than any of us, to help render honor and glory to God and His Church to help build structures like this. Think of the grace that poured out on them and the world at large through such noble sacrifice.  It is simply a wholly different and utterly incompatible mindset – that of faith and not of this world.  Those who have it, have it, and  understand instantly the willingness to deny self to give right glory to God, and those who don’t, simply don’t.

When I see amazing structures like this, and the immense good they still do for souls, and I ponder the opportunity we have locally – probably the only such opportunity the vast majority of us will ever have – to build a church that can really make an artistic statement, can really contribute to the great artistic treasure of the Church (one of the few such contributions to have been made in our lifetimes), I just think, we cannot mess this up.  I would happily trade 500 seats for an amazing reredo, or a stupendous altar, or marble-covered walls, or original works of art.  Heck, there are warehouses full of the stuff in Europe and Mexico, removed from any of the several churches being torn down weekly.  It’s not even that expensive, much of it, certainly not compared to making it from scratch, if such can even be obtained.  Anyway, I won’t rant on that anymore.  This post is already much longer than I intended, and few outside this Diocese of Dallas care, and understandably so.

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First TLM in nearly 50 years offered at Dallas Cathedral Dec 30 – UPDATED January 9, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Restoration, Spiritual Warfare, thanksgiving, Tradition, Virtue.
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I sorely wish I had had the means to share this with folks before the event, but it was deliberately cordoned in a veil of silence.  Nevertheless, an historic event occurred during the Octave of Christmas this year, when, on Dec 30 (thanks to KB and SB for the correction), a Traditional Latin Mass was offered at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dallas.  Father Thomas Longua, pastor of Mater Dei FSSP parish, offered the Mass.  Our family was unable to attend and I have received few reports on the Mass, the crowd, or the participants (I do not believe Bishop Burns participated), but there are a few pictures available.

Apparently the Mass was requested by some interested folks and new Bishop Burns, along with Cathedral Rector Stephen Bierschenk, approved.  The occasion, in addition to the feast, was a retreat for the altar boys and their families.

The Mass took place at the side altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reposed.  That is of course appropriate for the TLM – though our cathedral at one time had a most beautiful high altar, which was unfortunately and, I think it may be fairly said, callously ripped out during the wreckovations of the early 70s.  Indeed, the former marble altar rail was turned into curbs for the parking lot!  Just a slight triumph of expedience over piety……..

At any rate, some pics, and a bit more commentary below:

I am aware that this is not the first request to offer a TLM at the Cathedral.  Certainly, it is not the first since Summorum Pontificum of 2007.  So it is quite significant that approval was granted.  There is a sense in this Diocese that our new bishop Edward Burns, is more sympathetic to traditional Catholics and the offering of the TLM than was his predecessor, Cardinal Kevin Farrell.  There is growing hope that Bishop Burns may do away with the public, written policy instituted by then Bishop Farrell of banning offering of the TLM outside of the designated FSSP parish.  Certainly there remains much unmet demand for the TLM, even with the explosive growth of Mater Dei, due to Mater Dei’s awkward location (I should know, I live near it and don’t want it to move) and the diocese’s size.

Nevertheless, it is certainly something to pray and hope for.  The possibility appears much brighter than it did a year or so ago.  Unfortunately, there was expressed a wish to keep this event quiet until after it happened, so we may still have a long way to go.

Compare and contrast the bare offering table above, and the former high altar:

I’m not supposed to say this, it might hurt “the cause,” but different religion, much?

UPDATE: A local confrere informed me that this was indeed the first TLM offered in the Cathedral at least since the ascension of the, ahhhh……..one might say problematic, Bishop Thomas Tschoeppe in 1970.  Tschoeppe’s predecessor Bishop Gorman had apparently continued to offer the TLM regularly, until he was forced into retirement (very much against his will) in 1970.  Bishop Gorman was known for his stalwart orthodoxy and adherence to the Faith he was raised in, the Faith of our fathers, Bishop Tschoeppe, for allowing the seminary to collapse into sodomitical anarchy and general liberalism.  If what I am told is correct, one of Tschoeppe’s first acts was to oversee the wreckovation of the cathedral, including the altar rail cum parking curbs imbroglio.  Anyway, a bit of local history.

Texas Catholic Culture – El Cristo de los Pescadores December 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, episcopate, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Restoration, the struggle for the Church.
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“Christ of the Fishermen.”  Reader LaGallina sent me the following description of a beautiful bit of Catholic culture, placed where the Brownsville Ship Channel meets the Gulf of Mexico (roughly).

From La Gallina:

The statue is called “el Cristo de los Pescadores” and is turned slightly to face the channel and greet the shrimp boats when they are coming back to shore. A Brownsville family brought this from Italy back in the 90s (I think) after they won a settlement with the shrimp boat company after their two sons were killed on the boat. They also hold a huge party on the grounds around the statue which includes a public rosary (with a gigantic rosary made by an elderly gent from Port Isabel), catered food for everyone (invited or not), fireworks, and of course the ever-present “matachines.” (Do you think the bishops before Vatican 2 had matachines dancers at their Catholic events?)

No, I don’t think so.

LaGallina also apprised me of Francis’ elevation of a Father Mario Alberto Aviles to be auxiliary Bishop of Brownsville.  This is noteworthy for the fact that Fr. Aviles comes from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, which operates one of the few “canonically regular” TLM in the Rio Grande Valley area (the only other one of which I am aware is at the Brownsville cathedral, if that one is still going.  Perhaps LaGallina can confirm).

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville is reputed to be pretty solidly orthodox and relatively friendly to the TLM.  Coming from a branch of the Oratorians based mostly in northern Mexico which is widely known for its liturgical and doctrinal orthodoxy (though it is quite small), it may be hoped that Bishop-elect Aviles may increase this disposition even more. I know several readers who have assisted at the St. Jude Thaddeus parish in Pfarr administered by the Oratorians, and they all speak highly of the beautiful TLM and solid catechesis offered there.

However, it should be noted that Bishop-elect Aviles hasn’t been pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus for 15  years, so I cannot really speak to his personal qualities or adherence to tradition.  I am told he seems down to earth and pretty solid overall.

Now, El Cristo de los Pescadores.  Very nice:

Statues like this, and even entire parishes, have long been dedicated to Catholic mariners in major ports around the world. For my money, one of the most beautiful parishes in the world, Our Lady of Bon Succours in Montreal, has a heavy nautical emphasis and a close association with the maritime trades.  Why, several of the Apostles including St. Peter were, of course, pescadores, themselves.

It’s another aspect of the still heartbreakingly deteriorating Catholic culture that deserves widespread revival.  Good on the family for dedicating a lovely statue like this to the shrimpers and other seafarers of the south Texas coast.

Lovely Video on the FSSP Seminary in Nebraska November 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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Via Rorate, a PBS News video on Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, NE.  It covers the Gregorian chant that is of course a central part of the seminary’s daily life, as well as the CD the Fraternity produced last year.  That record apparently “topped the charts.” I doubt that means it’s sold a million copies, but one takes what one can get.  In fact, the second video gives a bit more coverage of the seminary’s vocal efforts.

I was tickled to see a local boy young man presently enrolled in the seminary around the 1:41-1:44 mark and at 2:14-7.

I wonder if the people who saw this segment thought: “Finally, some priests who look like priests?”  Love to see all the birettas and cassocks!  Bring back the tonsure!

A bit more for you:

The album is available for sale on most online music outlets, including the Christ-denying (well……) Amazon.

Was that a surprisingly friendly take from PBS?

Catholic Restoration – Balloon Rosary November 28, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, fightback, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Our Lady, Restoration, Tradition, Virtue.
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It’s a small thing, but many small things taken together can lead to mass movements, and even change cultures.  I like this effort by the Transalpine Redemptorists of New Zealand from this past October.  What a beautiful witness to our Faith and Our Lady.  Not a bad idea for the great upcoming Marian feasts in the first half of December:

These were launched in honor of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.

Beautiful.  What a sight that would be.  Sadly, these days, many people would have no idea what it was.  Still, I really like that.

I saw no close up of the crucifix.  I wonder what it was made of?  Had to be very light.

Videos from Fatima Rosary Procession 09/13/2017 September 14, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, fightback, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Our Lady, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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For the fifth month in a row, Mater Dei FSSP parish in Irving, TX, held a Rosary Procession in honor of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.  The final centennial procession will be held Friday, October 13 at 7pm and will process along public streets (SH 356/Irving Blvd) from Mater Dei to Trinity View Park at the Irving/Dallas border.

Attendance was very good last night.  I would guesstimate between 250 and 300 people attended.  And this isn’t even the “big” procession! See below.  

I love what the organizers have done with the lighting of Our Lady for these night processions.  It was really beautiful.

Videos below.  I did not capture every moment of the procession, which took over half an hour, but did get most major portions.  It gives a flavor for it, anyway, which is not bad, considering I didn’t plan on recording ahead of time, I just decided to on the spot.

Filmed by hand.  There is some jiggly screen, but not too much, I don’t think.  If that bothers you, you might not want to watch.

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone, Part III September 13, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, religious, Society, Tradition.
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Sorry this tour got sidelined for far longer than I hoped or planned.  In late June one of my children set my work laptop down in a puddle of water (water they had been told to wipe up already!) and the fan sucked water up into the computer.  End result was a completely fried hard drive.  I had transferred all my mission pictures to the lap top some time before.

Fortunately I still had the originals on my phone, it just took me a long time to get them transferred.  I finally got around to that today, and so here is part 3 in the four part series, covering the largest of the four missions, Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Of all the four missions, aside perhaps from Mission Espada, Mission San Jose was in the worst shape when San Antonio and local historical societies got serious about restoring them in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Indeed, the entire ceiling and the east wall collapsed during a Mass held there around the turn of the 20th century.  The Mission looked like this before meaningful restoration began:

Today the Mission is quite restored, which is both bad and good – it’s great that we have something to look at, and that the church is whole enough to offer Sacraments, but the down side is that we never know whether what we are looking at is authentic or not.  Fortunately, the west walls and the facade of the church remained standing, and these contained some of the most artistically significant elements.

Today, approaching the Mission from the parking lot, this is the view one finds:

The former refectory and cells for the religious who worked this mission are gone, but the outline of the structures remains:

Mission San Jose has by far the finest stonework, hand-carved, sometimes by natives, sometimes by artisans brought from Nuevo España (Mexico) into local limestone, of all the San Antonio missions:

An arrow slit to defend the church against hostile indians.  I kid, it’s a light for a very narrow circular stairway that leads up to the bell tower.

Moving around to the front of the church, we see what is probably the most elaborately carved stone facade on any mission in North America.  That is a historical treasure, even though many of the statues and individual flourishes had to be recreated to replace damage caused by vandalism over the years.  Horribly, incredibly, almost unanimously protestant soldiers in the Texas Revolution and, even more, the Mexican-American War of 1848 (American forces used the missions as storage facilities for grain and other logistics materials), used these irreplaceable pieces of art for target practice.  There is more evidence of damage inside the church proper.

The more detail one captures, the more amazing the artistry is:

Now moving inside the church proper, this is the overall view down the nave:

Let me tell you, that reredo is a massive improvement over what existed in Mission San Jose for decades, especially after the council. Then, there were simply bare stucco walls with a moderately sized – and none too artistically significant – table altar.  This new reredo was added a few years ago, I think under the impetus of then Archbishop Jose Gomez, and really transformed the church into something far more aesthetically pleasing.

The view back towards the choir loft:

This choir loft is still accessible and used during Mass.

I don’t know when these pews were fabricated, I don’t think they are anywhere close to original to the Spanish Mission period, but as a woodworker I was impressed with their craftsmanship nonetheless.  I would hazard they are in the vicinity of 90-100 years old.

I mentioned further damage inside the church itself.  The carved sconces at the juncture where the vertical beams meet the arched ones for the ceiling had extensive damage.  Several popes and saints had their heads shot off, as seen below:

This one was relatively intact:

Some closeups of the reredo.  Very nicely done.  Not real high on the color but the design with alcoves for Saints is very Spanish.  I love this as something for local traditionally-inclined parishes to adopt if they ever have the opportunity to do a remodel along orthodox/traditional lines (sorry for the blurriness in some images.  It was super-humid that day and going from the outside to the inside caused the camera lens to keep fogging up. I tried to wipe it clean but was not always successful):

They were getting ready for Pentecost, thus, the decorations.

Nice crucifix. The crucifix and statues are definitely Spanish colonial era polychrome, but I do not know if they are original or not.  Most original art not permanently affixed (and even some that was) was lost from the four missions during their century or so of near abandonment and neglect.

To gauge how much the reredo improved things, compare with this shot from the mid-2000s:

Night and day, no?  Plus, much additional artwork was returned from this stark, iconoclastic post-conciliar wreckovation.

That artwork includes some period paintings:

I love them both, one is such a great example of Spanish Colonial Catholic art, the other, I believe, is of much more recent vintage.

OK just a few more things.  A nice statue of Our Lady, unfortunately image is a little blurry:

And then finally, in what amounts to something akin to a side chapel, though it’s really used more today like a room for exhibits of certain kinds, is what I believe is a remnant of an old high altar that was probably chopped up in the post-conciliar period:

I had to stretch through a narrow space between some kneelers and a wall to get this shot.  Otherwise it was almost entirely blocked.

Or perhaps I am wrong, and this is a post-conciliar altar that used to be in the main church and got moved into this side chapel?  My gut says, though, that with this degree of detail, this is a more ancient altar, probably not original to the 1700s, but perhaps early- or mid-19th century?  The altar stone was obviously missing, but altars of primarily wood construction were not at all unheard of, especially in colonial environs.

I could find no one to give me the history of this altar. Most people either didn’t know what it was or knew nothing of its history.

I thought I had some more pics, especially of the re-created mission palisade and living quarters for natives, but I am not finding them now.

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone: Part II, Mission Espada 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………