Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Monday, August 8, 2011

Churches that Might have Been: St. Dominic's, San Antonio


One of the things that happened in the last century was the de-emphasizing of churches. A lot of them were built to look like other things, barns for instance.

However, in the last decade, there has been a revival even outside of traditional circles to reclaim the church as a building type. We are still in the growing pains phase of this revival and so we aren't quite up to the standard of even the early 20th century, but we're getting there. The problem is, now we often get churches that are close but are very obviously not quite there. And since it's not just a barn and the congregation has paid millions for it, there's no hope of replacement for a while.

I call these churches "churches that might have been." Here is an example, the first in a series:

What I don't understand is how they decided to put the new church at such an ange with the original church facade. The continuity is just plain absent. It however is very nice in its materials, it looks like, and give off a generally good impression. Inside, however, there is a huge absence of natural light. It's kind of atrocious.

6 comments:

Mary Kate said...

There was a church that we worked at in Wichita, built in the '80s. The outside featured some lovely Gothic style arches, but the strangest part was that there were no windows inside the church. I thought that windows and light were central to the Gothic style, and I was very confused that they would use the arches but have no natural light whatsoever. Same situation, though. It's not a barn and it's not terrible, so I suspect it'll be around for a while.

Hieronymus said...

Considering the climate of the place where it's located (Texas), perhaps the smaller amount of space dedicated to windows is a prudent choice based on the fact that it is hot and bright in such regions; the same might hold true for Rome, etc. The Gothic, on the other hand, since it was developed in northern France and suchlike places, needed all the heat and light it could get. I think Early Christian and Romanesque churches are fairly well suited to the Southern U.S.

Hieronymus said...

Also, that facade didn't actually belong to an older incarnation of the church, as I found out while looking at the church's website. All of it was built at the same time. Of course, that doesn't answer the question why they built such an oblique building.

Nate said...

I agree about the Romanesque vs. Gothic point. Each style to its own place. Roman/Romanesque is the style of choice in these revivals, but like in our neighborhood parish, it doesn't quite hold together.

Robert Gotcher said...

Are you going to post on "our neighborhood parish?"

Nate said...

I was intending to. Also, another church in the "Neo-neo-romanesque" style here in Milwaukee.