Michael Rose’s book Ugly As Sin: was read by the members of our building committee when they began planning the new Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
They studied the trends in modern architecture and did their homework. When I arrived in the parish four years ago they already had a modest, traditionally styled church planned. In our first meeting I asked if this was the sort of church they wanted to build and everyone affirmed that they wanted a traditional church and not a modern fan shaped auditorium.
The people’s enthusiasm for a traditionally styled church confirmed my suspicion that the modernist churches were usually conceived by modernist priests who thought they knew better than the people. Once the drawings of our new church began to be circulated, sure enough, it was the modernists priests who frowned and tut tutted and said such a church should not be built.
These are the very priests, of course, who always believe that the modernist style is “what the people want”. They are all for “full participation” and “a church by the people and for the people”. It is all the more ironic, therefore, that when it comes to architectural styles these priests have turned out to be the most autocratic and doctrinaire. The people MUST have a modern fan shaped church and they WILL learn to like modern styles of worship. The modernist priest knows exactly what the people should have and he will make sure they have it whether they like it or not.
When modernists priests complained about the traditional style of our new church I explained that this was what the people wanted and I hadn’t forced any ideas on them at all. The people were delighted with the traditional design and were adamant that they did not want a modern airport hangar of a church.
Tonight I have come back from a long building committee meeting and with great excitement we are now entering into the final phases of preparing to break ground. Construction drawings will be completed in about a month. Then we put the job out to estimators, have a review by the diocese, move forward with bids and prepare for a ground breaking.
This new church will continue to establish the Diocese of Charleston as a growing, thriving hot spot of Catholicism in the South. Along with St Mary Help of Christians in Aitken and St Paul’s Spartanburg the new Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville will be a witness to the truth, beauty and permanence of the Catholic faith.
It is encouraging therefore, to see how many people are stepping up to help build this new church. In these final months of 2014 we have had a push to raise $650,000 in new money to complete our financial plan to build. The total now stands at $500,000. All this from a parish of only 500 or so families! Not only are we a small parish, but we are located in a socially deprived corner of Greenville. Our local people struggle with enormous economic and social difficulties. That the smallest and poorest parish in town can accomplish this is truly amazing and shows the strength and faith of our people.
Already, as news begins to circulate in the community people are talking. They are impressed that the Catholics are investing in this part of town. They see we believe in this area and are not abandoning it for the comfortable and well off suburbs.
Will you help us to complete our church? Already a good number of readers of this blog have donated.
Can you make a substantial donation? Would you like to learn about the fantastic naming opportunities in the new church? You could choose a naming opportunity from one of the classic stained glass windows we have salvaged from a church in Massachusetts or help towards the expense of some of the new art we are commissioning for this church. Would you like to help purchase a statue of Pope St John Paul II for the new shrine to the Divine Mercy in the lower church? Maybe you would like to help purchase one of the vintage statues we have rescued from an older church?
If so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can make an instant donation here at our website.
If you are disappointed by the brutal modernist architecture in so much of contemporary America and would like to make a contribution to the future which embraces the past, please make the most generous donation possible.
Thanks for your help, and watch this blog for more updates on this exciting project.