Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Baltimore Basilica

Reposted from my personal blog, with minor edits
After mass at Mt. Calvary, my wife and I traveled downtown to pay a visit to the recently restored Basilica of the Assumption (RC). Designed by Latrobe, architect of the US Capitol, the Basilica was the first Roman Cathedral in America (US) and site of several Provincial and Plenary Councils. The third Plenary Council of 1884 did, among other things, commission the well-known Baltimore Catechism. We found it a very beautiful space, despite a few unfortunate choices made in the restoration process. (Chief among those being the installment of a permanent free standing altar hardly 12 feet from the high altar.)
Front towers and porticoLooking down the nave to the high altarThe main dome, with the dove of the Spirit in the middleThe organ loftThe papal umbrella, here, along with the papal bell, below, signify the cathedral's rank of basilicaThe restored cathedraThe true main altar of the basilica, now in disuseA peek in the sacristyOn the main vesting table , on either side of the crucifix, are relics of Sts Athanasius and Gregory of Naziansus, St Alphonsus, St Jerome, and St Gregory the GreatHere, the papal bell, in the fore, and Cardinal Gibbons' galero, hanging in the archway behindCast statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II (this is how the late pontiff was termed in all the literature, though I'm not aware of his beatification)
A view of the lovely arches and, in the dome, a portrayal the Glorious Assumption of Our Lady into heavenA visit to the undercroft
These inverse arches in the crypt support the weight of the Basilica dome above