The Diocese of Brooklyn, the mother diocese of my own, has undertaken an extensive renovation of their new Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. This renovation places Catholic art work and artisanship at the center. It proves to all that beautiful churches can still be built or renovated. No more whitewashes. Take a look at this video the Brooklyn Tablet just uploaded.
From The Tablet:
The highlight of the church’s renovations is the new American saints and candidates for sainthood mural that will adorn the back wall above the choir loft. You can see it on Page 1 of this week’s edition. Featured are some modern-day saints such as Father Damien of Molokai, Kateri Tekakwitha and Mother Katherine Drexel. There are also saintly hopefuls like Pierre Toussaint, Dorothy Day and Msgr. Bernard Quinn of Brooklyn, whose worthiness has been well chronicled by Msgr. Paul Jervis, pastor of St. Martin de Porres parish in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
On the same level but in front above the main altar, one can find majestic pieces depicting the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. In the ceiling are symbols of the seven sacraments, making the church a veritable lesson in catechetics.
One level below the top, the rondelles in the ceiling will be home to different Marian images, donated by the ethnic apostolates of the diocese and depicting images of Mary that are native to their homelands. Already in place are the Immaculate Conception (U.S.), Our Lady of Knock (Ireland) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico). While we were there, artists were preparing to place Our Lady of Pompeii (Italy).
On roughly the same level but on a side surface, spaces have been left for the seals of the diocesan bishops. We could see Bishop Francis Mugavero’s coat of arms, with his episcopal motto “Love One Another,” being readied.
One of the magnificent features of St. Joseph’s sanctuary are the angels on the wall behind the main altar. It’s difficult to appreciate now because scaffolding is still in place, but they have been restored and should lend a heavenly atmosphere to the background.
The “new” Stations of the Cross have been installed. They come from the old St. Vincent de Paul Church in Williamsburg that was closed a few years ago. They are such a fit for this church that it’s hard to believe they were not part of the original.
The new C0-Cathedral will be a building that raises the mind to lofty heights in prayer as you are encompassed by beauty on all sides. My good friend Deacon Carlos Velasquez recently gave me a tour of it – Including climbing stories of rickety scaffolding! It is among the most beautiful renovations I have ever experienced. It will not disappoint. Deacon Carlos and his classmates, numbering some 13 men will be ordained priests at the new Co-Cathedral this June. It is the biggest class the Diocese of Brooklyn has seen in years and will be a fitting way to inaugurate this new Co-Cathedral.