Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral

It’s Christmas Eve, and my mind’s eye looks back on my many Midnight Masses of years long past.  One church I’ve never seen on Christmas Eve is Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, home base of the Roman Catholic Archbishop. 

It’s a beauty inside and out, described by Fr. George A. Lane, in his Chicago Churches and Synagogues, as a Victorian Gothic containing the official chair of a bishop, the cathedra.  The building was completed in 1875 of Lemont limestone and has undergone a number of alterations and renovations since.  Most striking to me is the unusual wood ceiling, described by Fr. Lane as “an elegant water-pegged black walnut ceiling, probably unique in the Chicago area.”  The cathedral features five bronze panels celebrating the Holy Name of Jesus by sculptor Attilio Selva, Stations of the Cross in bronze and red marble by Goffredo Verginelli, stained glass windows from Milan, and massive bronze doors designed by Albert Friscia.  Fr. Lane tells us that the wide-brimmed red hats hanging from the ceiling high above the sanctuary area are the galeros belonging to the previous cardinal-archbishops of Chicago, a custom dating to the thirteenth century; old traditions can live on in new places. 

Although this is one more Christmas Eve I’ll miss Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, I hope to once again at least catch it remotely via the annual local TV broadcast.    

From the Cathedral's website:

Holy Name Cathedral's website
Holy Name Cathedral at Wikipedia

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