Sunday, November 02, 2014

All Saints' weekend at Sacred Heart (Part 2)

The first installment of a weekend visit to Sacred Heart Church ended near St. Anthony of Padua, but I wanted to return to the chancel and point out a couple of things about the altars, including the statues on the lower level of the high altar reredos. That's St. Patrick, patron of Ireland, on the right and St. Boniface, patron of Germany, on the left.

Their presence makes the altar unique to Sacred Heart, reflecting the blend of principal national backgrounds that formed the parish when the church was built, German and Irish. Very soon after, the arrival in Lucas County of coal mining families from Italy, France and Eastern Europe broadened the base substantially, but the Irish and the Germans were first.

We were talking Friday morning about the fact the statues and the bas-relief works in the bases of the altars had been repainted, but so skillfully that the new work was not evident. Suzi Crane James noted in a comment to that post's link on Facebook that it was her mother, Margaret Crane, who carried out this task in the family basement. Mrs. Crane also fashioned the shamrock that St. Patrick is holding.

The imagery in the south side altar is especially lovely, the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus who, in turn, is holding the globe. The bas-relief in the altar's base depicts the Annunciation.

The side altar to the north of the chancel is dedicated to St. Joseph, stepfather of Jesus. The imagery here is interesting because it includes two traditional symbols of Joseph --- a carpenter's square and a flowering staff. The white flowers springing from the staff often stand independently as symbols of Joseph, too.

Another of the friends showing me around Friday identified "Heart" windows that flank the high altar as her favorites in the building. These two windows appear from a distance to be identical, but when approached (and that's a challenge because they're set high in the chancel) the differing imagery in the window devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (to the left) and the Sacred Heart of Jesus (right) is evident. The leading in these two windows is among the most intricate in the building.

Finally for this morning (I'll finish up with more windows on Monday), more painted imagery. The Stations of the Cross high on the north and south walls of the nave are wonderful --- the quality of the bas-relief molding and the subtle painted color schemes extraordinary.

The charming statue of the infant Jesus at the rear of the church, like the altars and Stations of the Cross, is loaded with symbolism. The crown, robes and globe topped by a cross symbolize kingship. Two raised fingers banded together in gold symbolize hypostatic union --- Jesus as both God and human. And the fact three fingers in all are raised symbolizes the Trinity.

Third and final installment tomorrow.

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