"They don't make 'em like that anymore…" UPDATED

Settling in for Evening Prayer at Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome

Visiting Rome’s splendid, often ancient, churches, my husband and, who attend newish, barely-decorated, kind-of-ugly churches that are heavy on the felt banners, had not realized how much we’d been missing beauty in our worship: decorative touches with meaning, a designer’s thought for the physical surroundings of our mystical worship. “They don’t make ’em like that anymore,” was an undercurrent of our appreciation.

No, they don’t. Costs are prohibitive, tastes have changed and craftsmen and artisans specialize in different modes.

They make not make ’em like “that” anymore, but the new chapels of two religious communities give hope that perhaps the idea of beauty-in-worship is being reclaimed:

In Arizona, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery write: Each step of this journey has been STEEPED in prayer – as is evident in the final product which is more beautiful than we dared to dream. . . . We are still several months away from being able to have the Chapel consecrated (will keep you up to date on that) – as we await the completion of the pews and a few other interior appointments. But those months will fly by.

I found the video more enjoyable, and the work easier to concentrate on, with the sound off:

More pictures here.

Meanwhile, the Franciscan Sisters of the Penance of the Sorrowful Mother have had their chapel consecrated. These sisters are active/contemplative and like the Arizona nuns, they have been engaged in building a whole convent/chapel compound, which is finally finished. I like their video very much; a church dedication and altar anointing is a rare blessing to attend. I admit, when I saw the incense burning, I got chills. It is all so very ancient and biblical, in the midst of everything new. Got chills again, at the arrival of the bridegroom.

O/T but another great video: Rocco Palmo sums up the UK Papal Visit

Over at Inside Catholic, Margaret Cabaniss notes that picking on the ugly churches is too easy and invites discussion of what’s pretty out there? If you know of beautiful churches going up or being redone, let her know!

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