Saturday, February 15, 2014

1/3 of the trifecta

In Lafayette, Louisiana which, incidentally, has worse drivers than Maryland and that's saying a lot, I hit the trifecta - a cathedral, cemetery, and museum all belonging to the parish of St. John the Evangelist. The cemetery and museum photos still await processing but I finished the Cathedral last night.

The Cathedral is the third church built on the site donated by Jean Mouton in 1821, when Lafayette was the town of Vermilionville. In fact, there is a sign in French and English outside the Cathedral that calls it St~ Jean du Vermilion. The cathedral was built in the style of Dutch Romanesque in 1916, and is on the National Registry of Historic Properties. (And another one bites the dust!)

The nave consists of a series of arches supported by columns, a blind story, and a clerestory. 

Oil paintings of Christ the King and Apostles decorate the groin-vaulted ceiling.

Flambeau stained glass, made in Munich, Germany, portrays the life of Saint John the Evangelist, the patron of the Cathedral. His red cloak usually identifies him. 

As I worked on the stained glass photos I noticed a big difference in the processing effects from the other hundreds and hundreds of stained glass photos I've done. Increasing or decreasing highlights and shadows tended to act the same as if I was increasing or decreasing exposure; the entirety of the photo was affected, not just the highlights or shadows. It was difficult to get definition in faces, for example, or in the dove's wings, below. These windows don't feel like my best work, that's for sure. I tried looking up flambeau stained glass and found nothing other than a few references to it as a type of glass, but nothing as to the manufacture. Flambeau means torch and that might be a hint, but I found nothing.

It looks like this window was donated by the Happy Death Society. You'd maybe have to be Catholic to understand.

I worked a long time on this one, trying to correct the perspective - to get it to stand up straight and be even side to side, and this was the best I could do. It was taken from far below and off to one side and the original was really skewed. Believe it or not, this is an improvement. I include it so you can take a look at St. John, to Jesus' left. Have you seen The DaVinci Code? Sorry I can't make it bigger.

 Another window with better luck on the face.

There are many windows in the cathedral, but just one more. Dripping blood.

Fourteen mosaic Stations of the Cross line the walls of the two side aisles. This is the only photo I took.

The Italian marble main altar displays mosaic representations of wheat and grapes, symbolizing the bread and wine of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The center mosaic, a mother pelican feeding her young, is also a Eucharistic symbol. Additionally, four stone medallions, as revealed in Ezekiel 10:14, depict the four Evangelists: Matthew by a human head; Mark by the head of a lion; Luke by the head of an ox and John by the head of an eagle.

The evangelists' symbols are also represented on the podium in the sanctuary. The eagle for John:

Located to the left of the sanctuary, the Blessed Sacrament altar is one of the most sacred places in the Cathedral. The tabernacle has the Ciborium (a receptacle for holding the consecrated Eucharist) inside and has two gilt-wood angels as its guards. Above this altar, a wooden crucifix hangs between the alpha and the omega.

Priests, during the Sacrament of Baptism, use the marble baptismal font. Above the altar, the Holy Spirit is symbolized by a gilt metal sculpture of a dove and sun rays. On the altar are the repositories for holy oils used in the Cathedral during Baptism, Confirmation, Ordinations, and Anointing of the Sick.

Behind the altar, a marble chair is fashioned with columns, Corinthian capitals, and a miter motif. A multi-colored mosaic of the first bishop of the Diocese's coat of arms decorates the upper portion of the chair. The Latin name of this chair is cathedra, which is the origin of the English word Cathedral. Only the local Ordinary (Bishop) uses the chair when he celebrates or presides at Mass or a special liturgical event.

The Casavant Frères, Limitée organ was installed in the l985 renovation.

 The organist came in to play while I was there.

 I liked the shooting star effect on the ceiling.

The side aisles don't have the glory of the main, but they usually have their own subdued beauty.

One final photo out of many more, the gate guarding the stairs to the choir loft.

Many thanks to the parish for the copy & paste, unauthorized use of the text on their website, the plagiarism of which gave me no end of problems formatting this post, and I still can't get it right.


Thought of the day:
Ain't no such thing as a free lunch. (Anon.)