Sunday, November 16, 2014

St. Patrick's Cathedral

No, not the glorious neo-gothic structure in New York City, but the cathedral of the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. The building dates to 1888 and was consecrated in 1892. While modest in size for a cathedral and a strange mixture of neo-gothic style with baroque decor, the building is a welcomed breath of fresh air in Texas, where many of the churches look like this or this. Something distinctively built for divine purposes is quite rare and should be treasured.

The stained glass behind the sanctuary and around the nave is very high quality,
probably lead glass. The pre-Pauline altar is gothic, although the reredos
follows a kitsch pseudo-baroque design. The statues around the sanctuary
are large, but proportional in size and do not detract from what happens
on the altar.

Despite the patronage of St. Patrick, a strange Marian statue towers over the sanctuary.
I do not know from when the statue dates, but its twelve star crown and "action" design
suggest that it post-dates the consecration of the cathedral.

In accordance with the 19th and early 20th century tradition, the side altars
are dedicated to Ss. Mary and Joseph. This particular chapel is dedicated
under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

Perhaps not the most historically accurate St. Joseph, but at least he has
a receding hairline! To the left is the La Virgn de Guadalupe. Remember,
Texas is the last state before Mexico and is deeply influenced by Hispanic

The Stations of the Cross are carved from wood and follow a gothic pattern.
The entire building is resplendent and colorful.

There are additional altars towards the back which are now
devotional shrines.

The original altar is entirely intact and spaced far enough from the forward altar
for use in traditional liturgy should the opportunity ever arise.

The sanctuary is shallow, necessitating an awkward angle for the episcopal
throne. Bishop Olson, a native of Fort Worth, keeps the deacons' seats and
the traditional canopy over his seat.

Presumably the builder of the cathedral. The spires were never added.

St. Patrick's is nestled behind trees in downtown Fort Worth. With well-attended
noon Mass preceded by Confession every week day, the cathedral is a haven
for businessmen and women looking to escape their jobs and spend part of their
day with Our Lord, something more urban churches should imitate.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious about the photo of the St. Joseph altar with La Guadalupana. What saintly figured is represented on the right-side, the monk with pastoral staff? When I visited Mexico City and the shrine of the tilma back in 2003, I noticed a large number of statues and other representations of St. Charbel Makhluf, usually covered in hundreds of ribbons (like ex votos). I was told by some of the priests that there the image of Charbel, not Charbel per se, is used to represent Santa Muerte, Holy Death, by those who practice the syncretism that is so common in Mexico. Seeing Our Lady of Guadalupe and this black-clad saint made me think back to this. Any thoughts?