In 1942, Monsignor Michael Klasen, the founding pastor of St. Gregory the Great, published the following monograph or booklet, which he entitled, “The Church Beautiful,” for the people of St. Gregory’s, sketching out the history of our beautiful church and detailing its appointments. We believe that both long-time parishioners, as well as newcomers, will find the booklet interesting and helpful in discerning the intricate meanings of the art and architecture of our singularly beautiful church.
In recent years St. Gregory’s has pursued a mission called ‘Evangelization through the Arts.” We seek to articulate the gospel of Christ in languages beyond words. This effort was first inspired by our awareness of the sublime gift that we have been given in our ‘inheritance’ of “The Church Beautiful.” In addition to truth and goodness, beauty has long been deemed one of the favored pathways to God. The beauty of our church is validation of this ancient insight. Where else, in our neighborhood or city, can one find a church where beauty is harnessed to such a noble purpose in expressing the truths of Christ’s gospel? Our ‘Artist in Residence Program’ and our perennial efforts to celebrate the beauties of the Church’s liturgical life with dignity and grace further elaborate our strategy of ‘evangelizing through the arts.’
In the text that follows, Monsignor Klasen lovingly expresses the meaning of virtually all of the artistic and architectural details of our church. Due to the sheer volume of these details, this is a text that is meant to be savored and absorbed across the course of many readings. In a number of places, we have added brief explanations of words or phrases that have been modified in church-life since the brochure was first published. Most of these changes were the result of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1961-1965.) Explanations that have been added are printed in italics and within parentheses.
Please enjoy this treasure from our parish history. May God, who has begun the good work in us, bring it to fulfillment.
Gaudete Sunday, Third Sunday of Advent,
December 13, 2009
THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL
Its Conception and Its Creation
Early in the year of our Lord 1921 the pastor of St. Gregory Parish, Father Klasen, approached the Archbishop of Chicago with a view of obtaining permission to build a new church and received the reply:
“You may build, but build something distinctive, not just another ‘catalogue’ church.”
These words formed the inspiration for the NEW St. Gregory Church. In the search for an architect to fulfill such an exacting commission, the pastor’s attention was called to a John Comes of Pittsburgh. Mr. Comes had just published an art booklet on some of his own church creations as well as on other outstanding examples of the unusual in church architecture, and had been lecturing on this subject in many of the larger seminaries.
Through an intensive study of this book and other similar ones, Father Klasen became deeply interested in the new lines church architecture had taken. Therefore, with the approval of the Ordinary, he sent for John Comes, who came on Good Friday, 1921, for a conference. His ideas were so closely in harmony with those of the pastor that he was commissioned at once to prepare sketches for a new St. Gregory Church in the English Norman Gothic Style.
Within about four months these sketches were completed by William R. Perry of John Comes’ office. Early in 1922 John Comes died and so further sketches, as well as the subsequent plans and details, were executed by William R. Perry, representing the newly incorporated firm of Comes, Perry and McMullen of Pittsburgh.
Building operations were begun in the spring of 1924 and were completed in two years. The new St. Gregory Church had its first service on the same day that the XXVII International Eucharistic Congress assembled in Chicago, June 20, 1926.
The new church was dedicated by His Eminence, the late George Cardinal Mundelein, in November of 1926. In his congratulatory remarks to the congregation His Eminence referred to the edifice as “A medieval gem in a modern setting.”
The interior decorations were not completed at the time, but were installed during the intervening years as funds were procured. Gradually the side altars, the six shrines, the confessionals, the art windows, and all other furnishings were put in place. Lastly in June, 1942, the entire church was cleaned and decorated.
Today St. Gregory, The Church Beautiful, is complete in every detail and has become one of the outstanding ecclesiastical edifices of Chicago.
As the visitor approaches The Church Beautiful located so fittingly on the corner of Gregory and Paulina Street, a quiet, residential neighborhood of modest homes, he is at once attracted by the decorative lines of the crucifixion groups carved in stone and forming, as it were, the key-stone of the entrance arch. This arch bears the symbol of the Passion; also the veil of Veronica and the veiled face of God sculptured on the opposite lower ends of the entrance arch. To the right of the entrance rises the massive church tower, growing in height like a fort, with its upper half capped with decorative stone work as though one of the snow capped mountains of the Alps. To the left is the ambulatory leading from the church gallery to the nun’s convent (now the Parish Center.) Beneath this ambulatory is a cloistered archway giving access to the inner court of the school yard when school is in session or lending privacy to the parochial unit by the closed wrought iron gate anchored to its walls.
Entering The Church Beautiful, one is instantly impressed by the hallowed atmosphere of low ceiling, vaulted narthex or vestibule --- an atmosphere which instills a feeling of awe akin to that experience in the revered precincts of the catacombs. Scriptured words over the main door, “My House shall be called the House of Prayer for all nations,” loosen one’s thoughts from all worldly entanglements and prepare the spirit for entry into this Holy of Holies.
Once within the church proper the eye feasts upon the beauties of the vibrant, recessed polychromed ceiling as if privileged to behold a glimpse of the glories of Heaven. Automatically the knee responds to the impulse of genuflection and the hands fold in prayer. The harmony of these beauteous surroundings is like a symphonic melody of uplifting prayer which bids the beholder raise his voice in praise.
Rising in massiveness and solidity, stone pillars and arches march step by step in majestic array, halting at the sanctuary to focus the attention on the high altar with all its sacred glory. The eye finds rest on the domed tabernacle, the dwelling place of the Eucharistic Presence, and is at peace. Truly The Church Beautiful is the real House of God.
The walls in the sanctuary, the audience chamber of the King, are hung with shields embodying the symbols of victorious battles, the trophies of past triumphs, and the insignia of intense suffering and death on the Cross. These shields, about thirty-six in number, adorn the ornamental wainscoting and emphasize the larger shields portraying the four Evangelists, who have recorded the deeds of this King in four Gospels. Numerous bosses (“bosses” in this case refer to small ornamental blocks used as architectural details on the walls of the sanctuary) in color and gold leaf and representing various flowers of exquisite color and fragrance also adorn the sanctuary walls. High on the rear walls, titanic figures of two archangels look down upon you: on the right, St. Michael, the victor over Lucifer, the “signifer Dei representans animas in lucem sanctum,” the “leader who brings souls unto eternal light;” on the left Raphael, “ custos,” the guardian of the path of life.
Behind the high altar are the ambulatories. The one on the main floor serves as passage from the priests’ to the altar boys’ sacristies, the one on the upper floor connects the two chapels and serves as a possible place for an additional group of choristers. The chapel on the Gospel side is dedicated to St. Anne and is used for private weddings; the chapel on the Epistle side honors St. Rita and contains the organ chambers of the church organ, played from the balcony, and the sanctuary organ. (Throughout the text, Msgr. Klasen frequently refers to ‘the Gospel side” and “the Epistle side” of the church. Prior to the liturgical reforms that resulted from Vatican II, this was a common means of distinguishing the left and the right sides of the church, since in the Tridentine liturgy, the gospel was proclaimed, as now, from the pulpit [left side], while the epistle was proclaimed from a lectern or reading stand opposite the pulpit [right side.] Today we sometimes make the distinction by referring to “the Blessed Mother’s side” and “the St. Joseph side” of the church.
The dorsals or altar curtains, are on each side of the high altar and remind the faithful of the early Christian custom of veiling the altar when the time of consecration approached. The catechumens and those not of the Faith were considered unworthy to be present at the solemn moment of transubstantiation and therefore, it was the office of the deacon to draw the veil around the altar and hide from view the priest who was pronouncing words of consecration. That the people might know and follow the sacred act, it was the custom to ring a bell. We do the same today, but in place of the veil we have the dorsals which are not movable but stationary. (The dorsals have long since been removed; however, the lovely altar candlesticks in the form of kneeling angels [“Sanctus Candles”] that now stand at the corners of the altar of sacrifice were once positioned high on the outside corners of the dorsals. Cf. following paragraph.)
Liturgy prescribes that there be two candles placed on the steps of the altar, one on each side, and that these be lighted in every High Mass at the approaching consecration. That part of the Mass is called the Sanctus, and so these candles are named “Sanctus Candles.”
The credence table in the sanctuary is used for the cruets of wine and water, the finger towel, and for whatever else is to be used during the services. In Solemn High Mass, the chalice is placed there; whenever a bishop pontificates, all that he needs is on the table. Following an old tradition, our credence table is built in the shape of a treasure chest, ornamented on the front with beautiful bosses in color and gold leaf. On both sides are compartments for the storage of whatever is needed during the divine service. (This credence table has since been moved to the priests’ sacristy.)
The sanctuary lamp hanging at the entrance to the sanctuary together with the bracket from which it is suspended is made of wrought iron as are all the electric fixtures in the church. These fixtures, in so far as their appearance and state of preservation are concerned, might have been made centuries ago. They symbolize antiquity, one of the four marks of the Catholic Church, dating back to apostolic days, and are seemingly not a creation of modern times or the modern mind. It is always thus with things that are real. Truth never changes. Comments are sometimes made concerning the color of the glass holding the taper of the sanctuary light which, some believe, should be red because it is so found in most churches. The fact is that nowhere in the liturgy is red prescribed. All that is ordained is that a light be kept burning to indicate the Eucharistic Presence. (At some point in the past, the clear glass sanctuary lamp to which Msgr. Klasen refers was replaced by the red lamp currently in use.) Another ordinance prescribes that but one lamp serve. In case more are used they should be of an odd number, as three, five, seven.
In the sanctuary are grouped chairs for the choristers and the altar boys. On one side also is the sanctuary organ, on the other the ornamental shrine of the Little Flower, St. Theresa. (Both the ‘sanctuary organ’ and the St. Theresa shrine have long since been removed, although the statue of St. Theresa that once graced the shrine can now be found in the ‘Chapel of Consolation’ above the priests’ sacristy.)
THE HIGH ALTAR is made up of two parts, the altar proper, that is, the altar table or mensa, and the rererdos designating that part which forms the background of the altar. The steps or gradines for the candlesticks rest on the altar table. The lower part consists of Rosatto marble, the upper part of the Italian Caen stone which becomes harder with age and is impervious to water or to dust. (Sadly, the High Altar was at some point painted white, disguising this Caen stone.)
The marble slab covering the altar table weighs half a ton, is six and one- half inches thick and ten feet, six inches long. It rests on four solid pillars to make what is termed a fixed altar, that is, a permanent altar, a necessary requisite for the consecration.
The rererdos, or upper part of the altar, has five special features: the statues, the panels, the inscriptions, the vine symbol, and the other ornamentations.
The central statue represents Christ, the King of the world. It was chosen for this place because at the time the church was erected the feast of Christ the King was inserted into the church calendar. Pictured is Christ in the garb of a King, a crown on His head and holding the world in His hand as a symbol of His power. The four other statues represent the Latin Fathers of the Church and occupy the places of honor according to the time they lived, nearer to or farther from the Apostolic Age.
St. Ambrose, nearest the tabernacle on the Epistle side, who lived from A.D. 344 to 430, stands on a pedestal on which is carved a bee-hive surmounting two scourges. On his halo are the words” Thou Christ, art the King of Glory.”
St. Jerome, nearest the tabernacle on the Gospel side has on his pedestal a carving of an ornamental cross. On the halo appear the words, “Blessed Virgin Mary.” He spent much of his time in contemplation in forests with animals, hence the dog at his feet.
St. Augustine, at the left of St. Jerome, has as his pedestal emblem the flaming heart transfixed by two arrows, indicating the sorrow of his mother Monica. On his halo is inscribed “He is the Mediator.”
St. Gregory, at the right of St. Ambrose, has for his emblem two lions counter rampant holding a shield. The words on his halo are “Christe Eleison” (i.e., Christ, have mercy.) The dove on the halo is symbolic of the Holy Ghost.
The five panels are done in mosaic. The central one behind the tabernacle in blue, represent Jacob’s ladder (Gen. 28.) the other four refer to the Eucharist and bear inscriptions taken from both the Old and New Testaments.
First on the Epistle side is the sacrifice of Melchisedech, the offering of bread and wine, a type of Holy Mass, with the inscription “Melchisedech, king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine.” (Gen. 14.) To the right is Moses feeding the Israelites in the desert with manna. The inscription is, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.” (Ex.16.)
On the Gospel side, next to the tabernacle, the scene is at Emmaus: “Stay with us, because it s near evening and the day is now far spent.” (Luke 24.) To the left is found the multiplication of the loaves: “The pot of the meal shall not waste, nor the cruise of oil be diminished.” (3 Kings 17.)
The vine frieze, extending all around the altar represents the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is an oblation of bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord. The delicate lace frieze interwoven throughout the entire altar blends with and enhances all the elements of this magnificent symbol of Christianity.
The Tabernacle is of steel construction with brass doors. The upper tabernacle is reserved for the Holy Eucharist, the lower for the relics of the saints. In an aperture between the two a shelf is inserted for use as a throne to hold the monstrance at Benediction. The tabernacle is very roomy, holding both the monstrance and up to four large ciboria. Masterfully modeled in the brass doors of the upper tabernacle are the figures of two harts (Old English for ‘male deer’ or ‘stag’) drinking at the fountain of life out of which is growing the tree of life bearing rich food symbolized by the gems set into the branches. “As the hart panteth after thee, O God.” (Ps.41.)
The Crucifix, the twelve candlesticks, and the two sets of candelabra for benediction are made of delicately hand carved oak and show a variation of symbols referring to the Mass and the Passion of our Lord. The beautiful crucifix is exquisitely carved and has as inserts in the four corners the symbol of the four Evangelists. Because the lower part stands hidden behind the tabernacle, it is generally not recognized or appraised for its splendid craftsmanship.
CRIB AND SEPULCHER. When the plans for THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL were drawn up, these two essential features were permanently incorporated in the structure. On Christmas Eve all that is now required is to open the folding doors and turn on the lights and there before us, in all its magnificence, is revealed a vivid tableau of the Birth of the Christ Child at Bethlehem. Likewise, on Good Friday when the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified (the pre-Vatican II ritual for Good Friday) is over, the folding doors in the St. Joseph Chapel are opened and the recumbent figure of the Savior in His grave quickens the pulses and brings inspiration and strength to lagging souls. These two shrines have become increasingly popular at their respective seasons, hundreds visiting them and finding there a wondrous stimulus for their prayers and meditations. The hand-carved statues forming the group for the crib are remarkable for their fidelity of expression in face, posture, and costume.
THE HOLY ROOD. High in the lofty reaches of the ceiling and over the gates of the sanctuary (the old communion railing, with gates in the center, into the sanctuary; after Vatican II the communion railing was removed, and its pieces fashioned into the new altar of sacrifice, as well as, more recently, the ushers tables in the back of church) the holy rood stands in silent commemoration of the trials and triumphs of Calvary — Christ on the Cross, flanked by his Blessed Mother and St. John. At the foot of the Cross is the skull, the symbol of death and of the fruit of sin. The holy rood has always been a favorite object of devotion in all English Gothic churches, and exemplifies vividly the idealism of Mother Church whose liturgy makes the sanctuary the principal part of the House of God, the Holy of Holies, where the New Law is offered daily, and where the sublime mystery of the Faith is commemorated in Holy Mass.
Liturgy prescribes that a canopy, similar to that above a bishop’s throne, be placed above the tabernacle and this to be large enough to cover also the platform in front. The canopy in THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL is suspended from the ceiling to meet the liturgical requirement, but could not be installed lower as might be desired, for doing this would destroy the symmetry of the arch behind the altar and totally obscure the beautiful art window.
ST. THERESA — LITTLE FLOWER SHRINE. (As mentioned above, this shrine was at some point removed, although the statue of St. Theresa can still be found in the Chapel of Consolation, above the priests sacristy.) In the sculpture of St. Theresa the designer departed from the traditional lines of this statue in which the Saint holds the roses in her hand. Instead he pictures her holding a crucifix, the symbol of sacrifice which is so outstanding in her life, and he puts the roses on the scapular, the religious habit of the Carmelite nun. The carvings of this shrine are exquisite and, because it is low and near to one’s view, it is a spot where one likes to tarry to enjoy the delightful work of the craftsman. On the doors of this triptych shrine are figures of feminine character representing the virtues prominent in the life of the Little Flower — Humility engrossed in spiritual reading, Fortitude resting at the pillar, Chastity at the side of the unicorn, Patience holding the cross, Charity dispensing food, Temperance smothering the flames of passion by wearing the scapular of penance.
ST. MICHAEL AND ST. JUDE SHRINES. In the chapel of Our Lady is the shrine of St. Michael, given this place in fulfillment of a promise made to a good missionary, a devotee of the saint, that a statue of this archangel be placed somewhere in the church to gain his protection. Here, too, is the shrine of St. Jude in tribute to the wishes of a benevolent parishioner who contributed a share towards its completion. Both shrines are beautiful in their sculptural work and in the ideals which they symbolize.
This is another place at which the visitor would like to gaze longer. Art, sculpture, carving, needs more than mere seeing it. The student will survey in a most observing manner all things that contribute to art, the material used, the lines followed in shaping the figures, the coloring, the facial expressions, and so many other details.
HOLY FACE SHRINE. The Holy Face shrine in St. Joseph’s chapel owes its foundation to the unflagging zeal of two pious worshippers. One Sunday afternoon, many years ago, two Catholic women from another parish approached Father Klasen, the pastor, who happened to be in the sacristy, and implored him to accept a picture of the Holy Face with the understanding that he exhibit it somewhere in the church for public veneration. The picture had been stamped and approved by the authorities in charge of the Holy Face Confraternity. The pastor readily consented and placed it in front of the Pietà altar. It has had clients at all times and was for many years in the old church. When THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL was erected, the pastor felt that this picture should receive a place of honor because of the subject it represented and because of the promise made to those who in the goodness of their hearts presented it. Sometimes we think that ordinary actions are of no consequence, but the missionary zeal of these two women, promoting an apparent minor project, was rewarded in that this picture of the Holy Face has found a permanent place in THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL and obtained devotees and patrons.
THE SACRED HEART SHRINE has for its central picture our Lord emptying himself, as St. Paul says, for our salvation. Contemplation of this picture brings to our minds the words of the prophet Isaias:
“Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows; and we have thought of Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.” (Is. 53: 4)
The figure of Christ is surrounded by two administering angels holding the inscription, “Heart of Jesus, Burning with Love.” Surmounting the central picture are six oil paintings of angels carrying the symbols of the Passion. In niches are statues of David, the proto-type of Christ; of Moses, the leader of his people; and of Jeremias, the prophet who suffered so much at the hands of his people, as Christ did. These statues are interwoven by a ribbon band on which are the words from the breviary, “From out that opened Heart is born the Holy Church, of Christ the Bride.” At the top of the main picture is the inscription, “Christ, for us wounded, come let us adore.” Below are the lines,
“Shame were it to return to sins,
That blessed Heart to lacerate.
Rather let the flames, which tell His love
Let us in spirit emulate.”
Interspersed around the framework are shields portraying symbols of the Passion, of Christ, and of good works produced by our response to Jesus’ love.
The OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP SHRINE encloses an authenticated picture, one that has touched the original preserved in the Holy City, and one that bears the official seal that carries with it all the usual privileges and indulgences granted by Mother Church to all patrons of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This picture is encased in a most artistic oak frame, heavily gilded, and is recessed in an appropriate setting in the very center of the shrine. On the sides are oil paintings of the most famous shrines of Our Lady: Lourdes, Kevelar, Loretto, Aberdeen, Guadalupe, and Czestochowa. In the upper niches are three statues: one of Our Lady, one of Judith, and one of Esther. Both illustrious women are figures of the Blessed Virgin because they saved their people. Directly above the official picture are two angels holding an open scroll bearing the words, “Holy Mary, aid the unfortunate, help the weak;” at the bottom, “May the Virgin of Virgins herself intercede for us with God. By the Virgin-Mother may the Lord grant us salvation and peace.” On bands of ribbon woven around the upper three statues appear, “God elected her and pre-elected her. He made her live in His tabernacle.” As adornment to this shrine are twelve shields, each carrying a symbol referring to the Blessed Mother, as the pomegranate, the fleur-de-lis, the lily, the moon, the morning star, and the tower.
THE SHRINE OF THE SORROWFUL MOTHER is, perhaps, the most exquisite of all the interior furnishings of THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL. It has four distinct features: the marble pedestal, the marble piéta group, the rererdos, and the eleven paintings. The pedestal is of two varieties of marble from France and Italy, the side pieces being of Loredo Chiara and the center of Rojo Alicante marbles. Built very rigidly, this forms the foundation for the piéta group which weighs a ton and a half and the rererdos adds several hundred pounds more.
The Pieta group is unique in that there is, so far as we know, no other group of its kind that has as many as four figures in the setting. It was an original idea of the architect of the church and the model was first made in clay by an inspired sculptor, Giovanni Vanuzzi. This model was then sent to Pietrosanta, Italy, where this same sculptor executed it in Trani marble imported from Dalmatia. How masterful the sculptor was in carving this intricate group from a very hard marble is apparent. Notice the expressive features of every figure — the extreme exhaustion, the pain, the suffering of the dead Savior; the open mouth agape in death; the graceful lines of the limbs and body lying in the lap of the Sorrowful Mother, the valiant woman, ready to burst into tears at any moment but restrained by a wonderful heroism. Who but the Sorrowful Mother could display such tender mother love?
At the Savior’s head the angel shows intense grief, while the angel opposite is shocked by what he sees. To appreciate this group one must realize that it takes a masterful hand to paint the figure of a dead body in this position and to preserve beauty of line and realism. In this creation the hard marble is made to speak forth through the hands of this ingenious sculptor a message that could not be more real even in life or in death itself.
The rererdos or altar in the background, made of intricately carven white oak, represents an open book, profusely illustrated; the two gothic pinnacles, like delicate book-marks, hold this book open; in bold relief is the Cross, made realistic by its massiveness and solidity.
In deep contemplation we stand before this group, meditating on its great significance. The soul is filled with conflicting emotions. Here stands the tree of shame we would blame as the source of the sorrows of the Blessed Mother, as the source of much torture for our dear Savior. As the mother who slaps the naughty object giving pain to her child, we, too, are tempted to slap the Cross, for its denial to carry the innocent Savior when He was nailed upon it. Again our emotions bid us kiss the Cross in deep reverence, for it is sanctified, having imbibed the drops of blood oozing forth from that Sacred Body. It is like a battlefield upon which are strewn the ashes of beautiful mansions and showing forth in varied colors the heaps of ruins caused by the sins of men.
The eleven oil paintings harmonize with the architecture of the church and are very colorful as were the paintings of medieval times. The figures are in a field of color with gowns and embellishments richly gilded and ornamented. The two angels beside the Cross represent the ministering angels that remained with our Lord at all times, as well as the adoring angels who are doing homage to the Son of God.
The three angels in the upper panels who wear beautiful crowns imbedded in cushions of gold signify the three leading angels of whom Scripture speaks: the one who on Christmas night announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds; the second who administered to the Savior when He overcame the temptation by the devil; and the third, the angel who comforted the Savior in his agony at Gethsemane. A little lower are two other angels, each holding a symbol of the Passion. The other six panels contain the figures of prominent persons who, like the Sorrowful Mother, were visited with much anguish of soul or made to suffer cruel disappointment: in the upper left panel as we face the altar is Jephte the high priest who lost his younger daughter as the victim of the rash vow he made unto the Lord; opposite is Elizabeth of Hungary, the exiled queen who suffers so terribly through the ingratitude of her relatives and former subjects; below the figure of Jephte is that of St. Margaret of Cortona, the penitent who atoned for her life of dissipation by extreme penance and mortification; under the figure of St. Elizabeth is that of the Widow of Naim who suffered the loss of her only son (Lk. 7: 11-17.) Below these paintings are two more figures carved into the rererdos, St. Monica, called the “mother of sorrows” on account of her wayward son, who was to become the great St. Augustine, and St. Symphorosa, called the “sorrowful mother” because she witnessed the martyrdom of her seven sons as victims of their loyal faith in Christ.
THE SHRINE OF ST. ANTHONY is similar to that of St. Theresa, being of triptych design and with doors which may be closed at Passiontide. The door straps on all these triptych altars are rare examples of wrought iron work and should be noted particularly when making an inspection of the church. The figure of St. Anthony as well as that of the bambino is of Italian conception. Six portraits of members of the Franciscan order will be readily recognized. Inscribed on the marble section of the shrine are the words, “The Lord has loved him and honored him.”
THE POOR SOUL’S SHRINE is a worthy duplicate of that of the Sorrowful Mother. The carvings here, too, are exquisite, particularly the flamboyant motifs over the picture groups which portray vividly and realistically the flames of purgatory. These carvings together with the thickness and solidarity of the wood construction make this shrine remarkable. Resting in the upper ridge are two angels in devout prayer and intercession for the souls beneath. In the lower section is a masterful carving of the death of St. Joseph in the presence of Jesus and Mary surrounded by the holy women and with the angel of peace looking down from the clouds; a little child is hiding behind Mary Magdalene, apparently much distressed as little children would be at such times. So peaceful is the scene that one would tarry here a long time to absorb and enjoy the company of such a holy group. In the picture above this group is a priest offering Holy Mass for the poor souls with St. Gregory kneeling on a prie-dieu close by in deep prayer; in the background, choristers chant the solemn chorals of the Requiem Mass while angels descend from heaven and lift up the poor souls into the eternal light of paradise. The words below are “May the Holy Leader St. Michael bring them into eternal light.” The four oil paintings by the same artist, who executed those of the Sorrowful Mother, portray cruel and untimely death scenes; on the upper right is St. Sebastian being pierced by poisoned arrows; beneath is St. Joan of Arc burning at the stake; on the upper left is Abel, the first one to die by his brother’s hand; and below is St. Stephen, the first martyr.
THE BAPTISTERY. Following the liturgy, the baptistery should be in a separate section of the church and so in THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL it is elevated two steps and forms a special unit in the lower part of the church tower. This makes possible the holding of prescribed processions, in a small way, when baptism is administered. The main figure of the recessed altar (actually, more a spacious windowsill than an altar) is that of St. John the Baptist and on this altar are the crucifix and two candlesticks of hammered brass on which a number of symbols relating to baptism and a few inscriptions such as “Receive this burning lamp,” and “Receive this white garment,” are engraved.
The jewel windows of the baptistery were the first to be installed in THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL and were to be a test of the artist’s ability. His handicraft here won for him the commission to create the other windows of the church. These windows symbolize the baptism of Clovis, King of the Franks, by St. Remigius; the baptism of St. Mechtild, whose revelations tell us that God permitted her to become dangerously ill when she was an infant in order to hasten her baptism and make her a child of God sooner; the other windows reveal the baptism of the Ethiopian by St. Philip and the baptism of Cornelius, the centurion.
STATIONS, OR, WAY OF THE CROSS. Intricately carved, masterful in their simplicity, and surrounded by the gorgeous magnificence of THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL, the Stations of the Cross bid one linger before them in rapt wonder and devotion. While the tendency of late years has been to portray the Stations in as few figures or in as small a complex as possible, still, the artist who can give them a form of prominence in groups of but two or three figures, is really a master. Most of our Stations of the Cross have but two figures that translate in simple dignity the dominant theme of the Stations so everyone will grasp the full story it conveys. Notice the thorn effect about the frame of the picture; notice, too, that in three of these Stations the figures of children appear, an idea that is not generally used; the appearance of children make these scenes more human and impresses one with the thought that even in their youth, children begin to understand that this earth is a vale of tears. Much credit is due to the decorator of the church walls who has given these Stations such exquisite settings.
ORGAN. THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL has a three manual organ, sounding from three distinct parts of the organ gallery, with the echo organ sounding from St. Rita’s chapel. All are played from the manuals in the gallery. The fronts of the organ chambers are very decorative, the flamboyant carvings creating the impression of sound waves traveling upward. These carvings are beautifully polychromed and the entire ensemble is so restful to the eye that no one could sit before them for a long time enjoying the mellow harmony and the perfect symmetry of the craftsman’s handiwork.
CONFESSIONALS. Each of the four confessionals bears an inscription which is to be an inspiration to the penitents. The ornamentation at the top as well as that on the compartment doors is gorgeous, and has been artistically polychromed. The doors operate silently and the many bosses carved in the framework will convey the idea that penance can be of value only when supported by the reform of sinful ways and the production of good works. The bosses signify good fruit, clean Christian living. In THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL there is a confessional close to the sacristy, or priests’ vestry, so that penitents may be heard even immediately before Mass when the priest is already vested.
VESTRY. (Since Vatican II, the word ‘sacristy’ has largely replaced ‘vestry.’) Both the priests’ and the altar boys’ vestries are of large proportions, accommodating many attendants. In the priests’ vestry well-sectioned vestment cases hold a vast assortment of vestments, three of each color for daily use, and a resplendent set of each color for feast days of the first and second class (this vocabulary, describing the ‘rankings’ of Church feast days, was altered and simplified at Vatican II) all in medieval design and various values. Of late the trend has been away from expensive vestments brought about primarily by the American markets of local manufacturers. Since good vestments can be made in home markets for very reasonable prices, it seems folly to pay big money for imports that will show wear and tear in almost as short a time as those less expensive. In the priests’ vestry is a very ornate rack to hold some three dozen candle torches for the altar boys. These torches are carved by hand in four different designs and are richly polychromed.
The priests’ vestry with its correct lines of dimensions, its art windows, a magnificently carved crucifix in a rich and artistic setting, the human skull on the little shelf above the sacristy door, the processional crosses of ingenious craftsmanship --- all make a peaceful retreat in which to spend moments in communion with the Lord, a most welcome spot to breathe a prayer of thanksgiving after offering up the sacrifice of the New Law.
The priests’ vestry is very appropriately equipped with a comfortable prie-dieu of good dimensions where the priests make their preparations for the offering of the Mass. Every priest feels that the sublime sacrifice requires a worthy preparation. In the hallowed atmosphere of this ante-chamber of God’s sanctuary he lays aside the worries and cares incumbent upon him by the administration of a modern American parish, he cleanses his soul from all contamination that might have fallen upon it, and makes it worthy to enter the holy of holies.
“How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. ---
The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.
He hath set me in a place of pasture.
He hath led me on paths of justice, ---
Thou hast prepared a table before me, ---
Thou hast anointed my head with oil:
And my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it!
And that I many dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.” (Ps.23.)
EACH CEILING TRUSS rests upon the figure of a head sculptured in stone representing one of the Apostles as a symbol showing forth the evolution of the Church from out of the apostolic labors of those thirteen men of God.
SHIELDS ON BRACKETS --- In the nave, from sanctuary
No. 1 right Coat of arms of St. Gregory. Arms
and or three bendlets in red. Two lions
left in gold, counter rampant, support a
torteau inscribed “ I.H.S.” all in red.
No. 2 left St. Peter. Inverted cross and keys.
right St. Paul. Sword and book with words
“Spiritus Gladius,” “a spirit like a sword.”
No. 3. left St. Andrew, the transverse or St. Andrew cross.
right St. James Major. Three shells.
No. 4 left St. James Minor. Saw and club.
right St. Thomas. Carpenter square and spear.
No. 5 left St. John. Chalice with serpent.
right St. Philip. Spear, leaves and patriarchal cross.
No. 6 left St. Bartholomew. Three knives.
right St. Matthew. Battle ax, purse and tau cross.
No. 7 left St. Simon. Saw, gish and paddle.
right St. Jude. Boat hook, square and inverted cross.
SHIELDS ON BRACKETS --- In the Sanctuary.
All are emblems of the Passion of Christ; they are:
- Cross of thorns and nails.
- Cross with spear, sponge and the cloth with which Christ was taken from the Cross.
- The Cup.
- Coat with three dice and the thirty pieces of sliver.
- Ladder, hammer, pincers and I.N.R.I.
- The pillar and lash.
ON THE SANCTUARY CEILING RIBS --- Here the Cross and fleur-de-lis, emblems of Christ and the Blessed Virgin are interwoven with the pattern.
ON THE SANCTUARY FRIEZE --- The ornamentation is the rose, emblem of divine love. On the shields are the representations of the vessels used in the church ceremonies: ciborium, chalice, censer, chi, rho (chi and rho are the two Greek letters, which form the first two letters of the word ‘Christ,’ and which, imposed one upon the other, are a symbol of Christ,) with the letter “N” which stands for Nazarene in conjunction with chi rho. Cross with alpha and opposite the Cross with omega. (Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and which from apostolic times have been understood, together, as symbolic of Christ --- “the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega; all time belongs to him, and all the ages” --- from the Easter Vigil Blessing of the Paschal Candle.)
ON SMALL BRACKETS IN NAVE --- Beneath intermediate trusses. These display the following emblems of the Virgin:
Moon from the Apocalypse.
Sun from the Apocalypse.
Star- Stella Jacobi- Stella Maris- Stella Matutina
Lily. Canticles 11-12.
Pomegranate. Symbol of Hope.
Rose. Rose of Sharon.
SHIELDS ON THE INTERMEDIATE TRUSSES
Crown and lilies, suggesting the Queen of Virgins.
Crown and palm, emblematic of the Queen of Martyrs.
Crown and twelve stars, symbolic of the Queen of Heaven. Also from the Apocalypse.
The Enclosed Garden from Canticles 4-12.
The Cedar of Lebanon. By its height, perfume and incorruptible substance it stands for the greatness, goodness and beauty of the Blessed Virgin.
The Tower of Ivory, emblematic of the Virgin and taken from her Litany.
The Rod of Aaron, which blossomed miraculously.
The Tiara of St. Gregory as Pope.
The Seven Swords and Crown, symbolic of the Virgin as Queen of Sorrows.
SHIELDS OF THE NAVE FRIEZE (Sometime after 1942, the year that Msgr. Klasen composed “The Church Beautiful,” the interior of the church was painted, and it was decided to paint over the stenciled “Nave Frieze.” A sad loss.)
The Papal Cross.
I.C.X.C. being the first and last letters of the Greek words Jesus Christ. The Cross is combined in these letters.
The crown and cross, symbolic of Christ.
N.I.K.A. with Cross. Literally meaning “Conquered by the cross.”; double triangle with rays, emblem of the Holy Trinity.
Dove, emblem of the purity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit.
Anchor, the emblem of our eternal hope and Christ’s untiring patience.
Lamp, symbolic of heavenly wisdom and spiritual light.
Ball and cross, symbol of Christ as King. The Cross above the ball indicates His domination over the world.
Lion of Judah, symbol of Christ and also of fortitude.
Resurrection banner, banner with the Cross.
Hand, which is the emblem of God the Father.
Cross with two fishes, emblem of Christ.
Anchor with the alpha and omega.
ON THE NAVE FRIEZE --- The grape vine is used as symbolic of Christ as the true vine and also the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
ON THE FACE OF ONE LARGE TRUSS IN THE NAVE --- The chi rho cross and the P.X. alternate, and the fleur-de-lis.
ON THE SIDE OF THE INTERMEDIATE TRUSS --- The rose and pomegranate are used, both symbols of the Virgin, the pomegranate being the emblem of hope, and the rose the emblem of love and beauty when dedicated to Mary.
ON THE BRACKETS --- The lilies and roses are again used as emblems of the Virgin.
THE SHIELD OF THE LARGE TRUSSES
Patriarchal cross and keys. Emblem of St. Gregory.
Phoenix. Bird arising from the flames. Signifying the Resurrection of Christ.
Cross and Crown. Emblems of Christ.
Seven-branch candelabra. Typifying the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, and seven sacraments.
The flaming sword and scales. Symbolic of Christ’s justice.
Lamb and banner. The Agnus Dei.
I.N.C. and Rays. The monogram of Christ.
THE DECORATIVE COLORS HAVE SYMBOLIC MEANING
Red is the color of love, suffering, strength, justice, and of Christ.
Blue is the symbol of heavenly contemplation, trust, constancy, fidelity, and is always associated with the Virgin.
Green stands for hope and victory.
Gold and Yellow signifies heavenly glory.
White symbolizes faith and innocence and purity.
Black is the hue of death and peace.
Holy rood --- On the front are painted symbols of the seven sacraments.
JEWELED ART WINDOWS
On the day The Church Beautiful was dedicated and the officiating pontiff (i.e., bishop), the late George Cardinal Mundelein, came to the vestry between the dedicatory blessings and the Mass to don the Cappa Magna, he turned to the pastor, Father Klasen, and said; “Now, Father, don’t spoil such a beautiful church by installing painted windows.” His Eminence’s admonition was scrupulously followed. One by one the windows were created and found their place in the church; each is fabricated from English or jewel glass, the finest material for this purpose; each stands forth in the masterful technique of an inspired craftsman. These jewel windows are inherently iridescent and the gorgeous shades ever changing color pass in kaleidoscopic review throughout all the hours of the day. They are never the same, for as the sun moves in its ordained way across the sky and clouds pass in quick succession, all the brilliant tones of the rainbow with its multitudes of hues and shades play upon the worshippers, as though reflected from the glories of heaven. One may come every day, or several times a day, yet still these jewel windows will provide a new and different setting for each visit. And, the figures in the window, so devout, so medieval, so real, seem to fill one’s soul with their presence and open one’s ears to the message of their voices. Nearly six years were required to complete the six large windows, the three on the north side and the three on the south side, which represent the seven sacraments. The details follow.
BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION - First window on Gospel side from Sanctuary.
St. John baptizing Christ.
Baptism of the centurion Cornelius.
Baptism of the neophyte.
St. Philip baptizes the Eunuch.
Ananias and Saphira.
Saints Peter and Paul laying on hands.
EUCHARIST - Center window on Gospel side from Sanctuary.
Wedding at Cana.
St. Charles Borromeo.
Multiplication of the Loaves.
Elias receiving food from Heaven.
Falling of Manna.
Moses provides for his people.
Wayfarer aided by the Samaritan.
PENANCE - Last window on Gospel side from Sanctuary.
St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Margaret of Cortona.
St. Peter and the Cock.
Rich Man and the Publican.
Nathan the Prophet.
Salvation by the Cross.
St. Mary Magdalene.
MATRIMONY - First window on Epistle side from the Sanctuary.
Betrothal of Mary and Joseph.
Wedding at Cana.
Presentation of B.V.M.
Solomon awarding child to its Mother.
Bridal couple blessed.
Joachim and Anne.
Aman and Mardochai
Samuel and Anna.
Tobias with Raphael.
EXTREME UNCTION (Anointing of the Sick)
Center window on Epistle side from Sanctuary.
Patrons of a Happy Death.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph.
Angels and Trumpet.
Angels lifting souls unto Heaven.
Daughter of Jairus.
Prophet Elias’ despair.
Extreme Unction administered.
Pharisees and Mary of Magdala.
Young Man of Naim.
Abraham and Isaac.
The Good Samaritan.
HOLY ORDERS - Last window on Epistle side from Sanctuary.
St. Peter and the Keys.
Baptism of Cornelius.
Moses taking off his Shoes.
Clerics serving Mass.
Abraham meeting Melchisedech.
St. Francis Xavier.
Curé of Ars. (St. John Vianney)
Pope Commissioning Missionaries.
St. Peter laying hands on Disciples.
Two Small Windows - over side door on St. Joseph side.
Joseph on Throne of Egypt sends for his Brothers.
Joseph sold at the well.
Two Small Windows - over side door on B.V.M. side.
Empress St. Adelaide and her spouse.
Empress St. Adelaide helping the Poor.
Two Small Windows – over Confessional. Gospel side.
Prodigal Son decides to return Home.
Prodigal Son received by his Father.
Two Small Windows - over Confessional. Epistle side.
Good Shepherd looking for Sheep among Thorns.
Good Shepherd carrying Sheep on his Shoulders.
Two Windows - in St. Anthony’s Chapel.
St. Francis of Assisi preaches to Animals.
St. Francis before Pope.
St. Theresa strewing Flowers.
St. Theresa before Pope Leo.
Large Window - In Organ Gallery.
St. Gregory, Patron of Gregorian Chant.
Dove and Harp.
Ministering Angels holding Bands.
St. Louis, St. Francis, St. Elizabeth.
St. David, the Royal Psalmist.
Three Children singing in Fiery Furnace.
Angels blowing trumpets at Jericho.
Bishop and Clerics in Choir.
Psalm- “Have Mercy, O Lord.”
Te Deum Laudemus.
Clerestory Windows – ( i.e., the Windows of the Upper Nave)
High in the rising walls of The Church Beautiful these gorgeously colored, recessed windows form a jeweled frieze from which descends the light from guardian and ministering angels, the blessings of the two major patriarchs and the revelations of many of the prophets. A study of these windows reveals many of the symbols and mysteries of Holy Mother Church and leads one to a greater appreciation of things Catholic. Follow closely this story of their significance.
Window - in Sanctuary. Gospel side.
MOSES. The leader of his people, a type of Jesus the Savior of the world. Holds the staff which was made to bloom before Pharaoh.
ELIAS. The great prophet, a type of Jesus the prophet from Judah. Holds the pot of meal which fed the widow of Sarepeta.
Window 1- from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
GUARDIAN ANGEL holds the lily which is the symbol of purity. (Zaphkiel.)
MINISTERING ANGEL, the Angel who wrestled with Jacob and who administered to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. He carries the regal cup and palm. (Chamael.)
Window 2 - from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
BEAUTY OF GOD. Preceptor (i.e., ‘teacher’ or ‘tutor’) of the sons of Noah. Protector of the humble-hearted seeker after Truth and Guardian of the Tree of Knowledge. Drove Adam and Eve from paradise. He is vested with the regal garments of grandeur and majesty. (Jophkiel.)
JUDGMENT OF GOD. This angel is holding a scale, the symbol of justice. He stayed the hand of Abraham as he was about the sacrifice Isaac. (Zadkiel.)
Window 3 - from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
LIGHT OF GOD. The sword this angel holds is pointing upward, whilst in the other hand he holds a flash of light. “Let there be light.” (Uriel.)
CHERUBIM-SERAPHIM. One who sees God. He is holding a veil before his eyes whilst looking upon the face of God.
Window 4 - from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
RAPHAEL, called the Medicine of God. He carries the fish that cured the blind Tobias.
REQUEST OF GOD. This angel carries a cup in which are contained the petitions of men. (Sealthiel.)
Window 5 - from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
CHOSEN OF GOD. He holds the palm, the symbol of election. (Jehudiel.)
MICHAEL. ‘Who is like unto God?’ (“Quis ut Deus?”) He is conquering the dragon with his spear.
Window 6 - from Sanctuary. Gospel side.
BLESSINGS OF GOD. Carries roses in his apron symbolizing the graces of God conferred on men. (Barachiel.)
GABRIEL. God is my Strength. He holds the palm, the symbol of victory.
Window - in Sanctuary. Epistle side.
ABRAHAM. The founder of the chosen people, the type of Christ who is the founder of Christianity. Abraham is shown with his son, Isaac. Below is the lamb, symbolizing the Lamb of God.
AARON, the High Priest. He is occupied in the sanctuary of the Lord. He holds the censer, the symbol of priestly office. Below is the Ark of the Covenant.
Window 1 - from Sanctuary. Epistle side.
NOE. (Noah) The first Savior of the human race, a type of Christ. Below is the dove that announced unto Noe the recession of the Flood.
JOB. He is a model of patience and resignation. Below is a well filled bag, symbolizing how God blessed Job with temporal gifts because of his loyalty.
Window 2 - from Sanctuary. Epistle side.
JACOB. The father of the twelve tribes from whom the Savior was a descendant. Below is Jacob’s Ladder of which he had a vision.
JOSEPH. He was made to pay the penalty for his brothers’ jealousy. He is a type of Christ. Below is the cistern into which he was thrown.
Window 3 - from Sanctuary. Epistle side.
NEHEMIAS. Also called Esdras, the prophet, who was cup-bearer to the king of Persia, by whom Nehemias was commissioned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Below is shown a wall and tower.
HABACUC. Who prophesied in Juda. He is supposed to be the one who was brought by the Angel to Daniel in Babylon. Below is a gate, the symbol of his entry into Babylon.
Window 4 - from Sanctuary. Epistle side.
ABDIAS. Supposedly to be Achab’s steward. His prophecy is sublime in the mystery it carries. Below is some bread and a goblet, the symbol of a steward.
JONAS. Who was swallowed by the whale. He is a type of Christ buried in the tomb. Below is shown the whale.
Window 5 - from Sanctuary. Epistle side.
JEREMIAS. The prophet who foretold the birth and the death of Christ. He speaks also of his people from whom the scepter of Juda shall be taken. Below is a scepter symbol.
ISAIAS. The prophet who suffered such torture at the hands of his own people and others. Below is a saw which is an allusion to his prophecy regarding the division of the Hebrew Kingdom.
THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL… ITS BELLS
INTERMEDIATORS between God and man, the church bells carry our profession of Faith unto the Lord and bring down His blessings upon us. In the Ceremonial (Pre-Vatican II ritual-book containing blessings and prayers for the sacraments outside of Mass) for the blessings of a bell, the church calls the bell the voice of God: “The voice of the Lord hath thundered.” Psalm 28.
When on Sunday morning the bells resound from the church tower, they should arouse an echo of praise and thanksgiving in our soul. The bells are our monitors reminding us that the rumblings of machines in the workshop, the clink of coins in the houses of business, the steam and smoke arising from the stacks of industry, these are not all-important occupations.
“Sursum Corda” – “Raise your Hearts”
In the morning hour when the bells proclaim the break of day, our hearts turn to our Creator with a good intention for the day. “All for the honor and glory of God.” Then, in the dusk of the closing day when the bells announce the eventide, our hearts resound with a prayer of thanksgiving for the day that is done. The Sabbath bells peal forth in joyous ecstasy to free our minds from work and worldly cares and inspire us to give GOD His due before seeking again the pleasures of the world. The maiden fair, in bridal wreath and veil, approaches the altar and while the beautiful dream of her virgin years becomes a reality, the bells resound in a message of joy and good wishes for a happy future. To the sick they speak, “Pax tecum”, “Peace be with you.” And, when at last the sands of life have run their course and the weary pilgrim sleeps in the peace of death, the bells plead for him in muffled prayer. Yes, even to him from whose soul faith has vanished the bells bring this hopeful greeting.
“Peace on earth to men of good will.”
According to an old custom, church bells are given names. We speak of “baptizing” the bells, meaning that they are blessed by a special rite and one reserved for the bishop. The names and significance of the bells of The Church Beautiful are:
MICHAEL. The largest, weighs 2800 pounds, is in the tone of C and symbolizes Michael the archangel, the prince of the heavenly hosts. He leads to victory over Lucifer. He is the protector of the neighborhood. Where the sound of his voice is heard, there shall the infernal spirits be powerless to harm the body and soul of man.
CHARLES. The second bell weighs 1800 pounds, tone of E flat. It is accorded this place in the order of God’s messengers calling the faithful to the House of God. It has as its symbol the great St. Charles, Archbishop of Milan, on whose shield was inscribed the word “Humility” as being the outstanding characteristic of this great saint. This bell is subordinate to the higher one Michael, and lends its voice to enhance the sound of the others. Thus too, did St. Charles make himself the servant of the servants of God.
MARY. The central figure of the Incarnation. Everything depended upon and revolved around her. Had she not given her fiat, “be it done,” the Incarnation would not have taken place. So too, the bell Mary takes a prominent place in the belfry. It is she who sounds the Angelus three times each day and tells us of the Word made flesh and dwelling amongst us. Mary was present at the great moments of Jesus’ career, so too, the bell Mary joins in the harmony of the others whenever a message signifying a high feast day or occasion is sent forth. Weight 1500 pounds, tone of F.
APOLLONIA. Named after the Virgin Martyr of early Christian fame. She is called the priestly virgin, probably from the fact that she gave invaluable aid to the bishops and priests of the early Church. This bell, too, is symbolical of the prominent place devout womenfolk take in the promotion and upbuilding of God’s kingdom on earth. Apollonia gives tone balance to the harmony. When she joins in, the melody is complete, the song is beautiful, and the message is clear – when women help success is assured. Weight 950 pounds, tone of G.
JOSEPH. Tone of A flat, weight 800 pounds. On Joseph fell the duties of provider for the Holy Family. On Joseph fell all the worries of the Holy Family; his heart bled when on the way to Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth; Jesus and Mary depended upon him for protection and comfort. In sound pitch the bell Joseph has the highest voice. His tone directs the harmony of the entire bell melody. Joseph is the protector of Holy Church and patron of a happy death; Joseph will call more often for divine service, and his voice will resound above all the other bells.
NICHOLAS. The senior among the bells. His voice rang out for the first time in 1904 on the eve of December 8. He has been with us from the days of our infancy. He has stood in three towers and has proclaimed many a message of joy and wept many a time at the death of a parishioner. Nicholas weighs 450 pounds, is in the tone of C, and has his own way of saying things. He is louder than all the others and more melodious too. He will ring alone or not at all.
THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL, having spread its glories before you, hopes that within its portals you have found a re-awakened inspiration and peace; that there has been instilled within you a renewed interest in things sacred; that you have found in yourself a new, a burning thirst for greater knowledge of its mysteries; that you have become aroused to draw closer to God – if it has accomplished any one of these ends, then its mission has been fulfilled and all its beauties have been well bestowed.
--- MONSIGNOR MICHAEL KLASEN,
Founding Pastor of St. Gregory the Great
--- Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ · 1942