So Many Goodbyes: the windows at St. Margaret Mercy

Today we celebrated what will likely be the last Mass in the chapel at Franciscan Health Hammond. The hospital, just south of St. Joseph, is downsizing, and much of the building will be torn down. It is a painful transition for all of us whose lives have been entwined with the institution for many years. …

The Presentation in the Temple

The fourth window in the nave continues the story of Jesus’ earthly life that wraps counterclockwise around the building. It portrays the presentation of baby Jesus in the Temple. The scene is dynamic, full of movement, drawing the viewer’s gaze in a circle. We see Joseph on the right, gazing protectively down and toward us …

The Gospel Writers

The styles of art and architecture at St. Joseph outline our history. The Romanesque dome reminds us of our ancient origins. The apse fresco recalls the Middle Ages. This seated figure, with his three companions, alludes to the beginnings of the Modern era in the Italian Renaissance. Four of these frescoes of decorate the transepts. …

The Tree of Grace

“I’m looking forward to growing in my faith.” Our pastor Fr. Mens, in his November 3rd homily, shared these words from a young woman celebrating her quinceanera. Scripture and tradition are saturated with metaphors of growth: trees and gardens, vines and vineyards, seeds and shoots, flowers and fruit. In the apse at St. Joseph, the …

All Saints, All Souls, and Dia de Los Muertos

Do you have loved ones who have passed away? All Souls Day, or Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — is a time set aside in the Church year to remember and to pray in a special way for those who have died. Celebrated on November 2, it is the day after …

Romanesque Revival and our origins: the short story

There’s something about this space, when you first walk in, that makes you want to look up.  You stop, and breathe in, and lift your eyes, and feel your spirit expand and become calm.  The size and shape of the dome in St. Joseph Church building is the first clue to its style of architecture, …

Michael the Archangel

Climb the steps into the south tower on a bright morning, and you will meet this ethereal figure.  Standing nearly as tall as an adult, radiant with golden light, he is dressed as a knight, with bronze armor on his forearms and legs, an ornate embroidered cross on his tunic, the French heraldic symbol of …

The Facade, the Furnace, and the Phoenix, Part 1

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!…Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:49-53, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C) This is not what we’re used to hearing from Jesus, …

Assumption of Mary

“Someday, I wish to be fearless like Socrates in front of death’s door.” Ruben Rodriguez, one of my students, wrote this in his final Philosophy paper.  How we face death: that’s the measure of our life — the passing of our loved ones, losses, griefs, goodbyes, and our own final end.  Today we celebrate the …