As noted earlier, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, the University of Dayton’s iconic chapel on campus, is to be “renovated” this summer.  This chapel and its previous splendor was reduced during previous “renovations” that occurred after the Second Vatican Council.

Chapel before Second Vatican Council.

Chapel Today. 

 

This project was designed by the Dayton architectural firm Brightman & Mitchell Architects of Dayton, and liturgical consultant Kenneth Griesemer.

And as we suspected and noted at the time, this project has now been exposed as a blatantly dishonest and ideological-driven effort.  A coalition of students, lovers of sacred liturgy as well as just plain lovers of history (who may not even have any affinity for sacred liturgy) are trying to stop this before it is too late.

Students have been circulating this flyer on campus.

 

The following email was sent by a professor to UD faculty:

 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: John Inglis <jinglis1@udayton.edu>
Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Subject: In memory of UD Chapel’s apse, hand-carved wooden pulpit, & Virgin Mary on ceiling
To:


Everyone,

 

Since the renovation of the UD Chapel will involve the almost total destruction of the historical apse (narrow section of the building in front of the old altar), it is nice that we can experience it as a unity for a few months longer! This is in part what it means to preserve and widen a footprint. 

 

Widening the footprint will include the division of the very large wooden pulpit hand-carved in KY in the 1860s in order to display specific parts of it in two or three different locations. 

 

We should have a contest for the number of ten-foot tall hand-carved wooden art works from the 1860s that continue to exist on site in Dayton, let alone southwestern Ohio. 

 

This has been my favorite work of art on UD campus during my 21 years here! That it includes a stairway to the pulpit connects us with early and medieval Christianity, even if no orator has mounted those steps in years. Seeing it for me is like visiting churches and chapels in Europe, which I do each summer precisely to study and photograph such things.

 

As the widening of the apse will lead to the removal of the historical painting of the Virgin Mary, Trinity, and angels on the ceiling, it is great that we can enjoy them still.

 

And since a public passageway will be cut through the old wedding cake altar, we can hold it within our gaze a little longer. 

 

These are some of my favorite non-people things at UD and represent much Catholic and Marianist history! 

 

From talking to Marianists, I assume that hundreds of members have taken their religious vows in this space in front of this art.

Ask Marianists that you know. This was not only a university chapel, but an important chapel central to this religious order.

 

The apse is the oldest part of the chapel not to be disturbed by significant renovations over the last 100+ years. It will now largely be destroyed and replaced with a new wider structure. But, at least the great old stained glass windows high up on the apse walls will be removed and repositioned in the new construction! They are among the jewels of UD.

 

You can use the flickr address below to see the pulpit, the painting of Mary and the others on the ceiling, wedding cake altar, wooden panelling, stained glass windows, and shape of the apse. This space has its own distinctive character, which will no longer exist. 

The character is in part a Catholic puritanism imposed by the European Marianists over and against the greater richness of the original plans. The order made a choice for simplicity, in some ways, or at least for me, an option for St. Francis and against the neogothic splendor of the aristocracy, a choice that continues to speak to many today.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/38771238@N07/13613466764

 

or a larger printable file,

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52809064/UD%20Chapel.jpg



 

The apse space is being widened to include a place for the choir and more seating area. So the chapel will be more useful for liturgy today, which will be nice.
I worshiped here for a decade, so can appreciate that.

 

The loss on the exterior will not be huge, largely the widened apse and a long one-story building constructed along much of the south side of the chapel, the side towards St. Joseph’s. But it will directly affect the 19th century feel of the space.

 It will be a great historical loss for the university and US Catholic higher education. 

 

UD is one of the very few Catholic universities to have its original core campus from the Nineteenth Century largely intact. This is very rare in the US. Maybe someone can mention another campus that has it to this extent, but Notre Dame lost theirs years ago and I do not know of another Catholic campus in the US with so much of its core remaining from the mid and late 1800s.

 

 

The interior loss to the chapel will be significant, with the loss of the apse, pulpit, Virgin Mary painting, interior woodwork, and altar at one end; and loss of the 19th century balcony and pipe organ at the other.

Remarkably, the balcony is held up with 19th century cast iron pillars that have different capitals on top, as if they were carved out of stone! Take a look before they are gone.

 

When stone was dominant, each piece was handmade, so stone pillars often differed from each other. When iron casting came in, this was no longer necessary, but the practice of utilizing difference continues at UD.

 

John Haldane, a visiting Scottish philosopher of international renown who has given the Gifford Lectures, marveled at the cast iron pillars a few weeks ago while on tour. This was an early industrial type of construction which blends in with the medieval style of the building as a whole.
Viollet le Duc praised this use of modern construction for such purposes in his important encyclopedia, which Frank Lloyd Wright held up as the great work on architecture.


 

The political- and religiously radical stained glass windows that stand along the sides of the chapel and represent so much of the dreams of Vatican II, will be replaced with a gentle geometric design more like the originals.

I hope they sell the post-Vatican II panes, for I would like one, and it would raise money for the construction. And certainly it is ingenious to turn the confessionals into shrines.

 

As one member of the Chapel renovation committee has reportedly said recently (off committee), at least we are keeping the blue dome on top!



 

Because we are now able to use Holy Angels church on Brown Street for large Eucharistic gatherings, we could renovate this chapel with historical respect. It is not necessary to renovate historical buildings according to contemporary standards.

I understand why UD is not doing this, as it will be more convenient for smaller Eucharists and weddings, but lament the loss none-the-less. 

 

If you see me photographing the site over the next few months, stop by for conversation, so that we can observe one of Dayton’s and our region’s historical monuments together for a little longer. To my knowledge it has not been properly documented or studied.

 

John Inglis

Chair and Professor of Philosophy  

 

Who knows if it is too late to stop this.

Driving down Smithville Road today, I and the rest of the east side of Dayton saw on the sign in front of Immaculate Conception School in all-caps:

WELCOME MAYOR WHALEY AND THE CITY OF LEARNERS

Immaculate Conception School is tied to Immaculate Conception Parish, which is clustered with St. Helen parish.  Immaculate Conception is the site of-choice of the AOC for ordinations up in the Dayton area.

You may remember Democrat Mayor Nan Whaley as the Emily List-endorsed, NARAL-supported, NARAL-twitter pal and retweeter, pro-LGBTQXXXBDSMWHATEVER, leading proponent behind the city of Dayton’s “domestic partner registery” and, according to her website, parishioner at Corpus Christi Church, Dayton, Ohio. Mayor Whaley, as an elected leader, holds positions in opposition to the three non-negotiables all Catholic must support in the public square.  (I let her know it too, when she visited my front porch seeking my support in her [at the time] upcoming election bid.)  Mayor Whaley would easily fall within the same political spectrum as the Cuomos, the Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Martin O’Malley, Kathleen Sebelius, etc.

Apparently City of Learners is a program (with vague goals) to promote education that was started up by Mayor Whaley and Immaculate Conception School was one of a couple Catholic schools that are participating as sites for “listening sessions.” (Chaminade Julienne High School was selected as the site for the listening session for “private school issues.”) Immaculate is the site for “east side neighborhoods.”  The committee of City of Learner participants is a list of “who’s who” for the Dayton area.

For a moment, I imagine myself in the role of someone who has the authority to decide what messages get placed on the letter-board next to the road in front of the Catholic school.  Then I imagine putting a ‘welcome’ to one of those names- Whaley, Pelosi, Sebelius, etc. on the sign in front of my Catholic school on one of the most prominent roads in the eastern half of the city.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting by any means that the school should not participate in the program or that the school shouldn’t be polite to the Mayor or even that they couldn’t put up a welcome of some sort to the program and its “listeners” on their sign, but to go to the extent of including the “WELCOME MAYOR WHALEY…” on their prominent sign, was just too much, given the positions she advocates.  So am I to guess that the person who is responsible for the letter board sign was just unaware of all the Mayor’s public positions or were those public positions the reason her name got included on the sign out front?  I guess I should just be thankful they didn’t give her an honorary degree, right?

Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxillary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be visiting the Cincinnati Archdiocese and confirming 31 Confirmandi at Holy Family Church Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, the 29th of March at 10 AM. There will be a luncheon in the basement of the church immediately following the Confirmation.

As a US prelate, Bishop Perry has developed a reputation for leading by example in his support for a more faithful and sacred celebration of the liturgy (here). He recently visited the Athenium in 2013 (here and here).

For a quick example of the Bishop’s teaching and style, here is a brief talk His Excellency gave in 2012 on Men and the Mass.

If there is one thing that can be said about the Pontificate of Francis, it’s that there is a stunning lack of clarity in public statements on so many issues coming from the Holy Father. Particularly disturbing has been the questionable interviews granted and the strange answers given. See here, here, here and here.

That’s why it is so refreshing to see someone speak so clearly on Christian morality and theology in an interview with a secular magazine. No equivocation; no additional explanations, retractions or mental somersaults in order to square the circle.

To those important people within and around St. Martha House: pay very close attention and take notes; this, my friends, is how the New Evangelization is to be carried out, if it is to be successful.

This morning I saw the headline come across the Dayton Daily News website, “12m renovation planned for UD chapel.” An hour and half later when I could final login to read the article, it was curiously gone, having only been up on the site for at most a few hours.

http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/local/12m-renovation-planned-for-ud-chapel/nb5QH/

Renovations on this chapel have already occurred over the years. There are no pews currently as a result of these past efforts, and the ornate walls were whitewashed, the altar rail was demolished and most beautiful paintings and statues were removed.

The University of Dayton did issue the following press release today (with my Father Z-like comments and emphasis):

Updating an Icon

The University of Dayton expects to begin in August a $12 million renovation of the Immaculate Conception Chapel, the symbol of its Catholic identity and the University’s heart for generations of students, faculty, staff and their families.

The chapel’s iconic cupola, exterior look, historic dimensions and footprint will be largely unchanged. Inside, updates will improve (improve’ is a relative termhow the chapel functions to allow fuller liturgical participation (the phrase “fuller liturgical participation has been used to justify an incredible amount of liturgical abuses over the past 45 years) and will blend with familiar elements to echo the chapel’s traditional look (are they just throwing a bone to tradition here, or will there be real follow through in this area? Will the result of this supposed “renovation” receive praise on a forum such as New Liturgical Movement or in The National Schismatic Reporter?).

“We are a Catholic university; we should have a powerful symbolic place and space for God,” said the Rev. James Fitz, S.M., vice president for mission and rector. “Since the chapel was built in 1869, it has been adapted to meet changing needs and circumstances. This renovation will preserve the chapel’s essential traditions (Will it???) and history and allow us to celebrate Mass in accord with today’s liturgical norms.” (Oh dear, another code phrase for liberal liturgical destruction…)

A significant amount of the fundraising for the project has been completed with a recent anonymous gift of $3 million (wealthy liberal liturgical activist or some sorry soul who is about to see their money go to progressivist waste, or a smart investor???). With that gift, the University is just $1 million from its $12 million fundraising goal, and expects to meet that goal by March, Fitz said.

Renovation plans have been revised since 2008 when a plan called for an expansion that would nearly double the seating capacity to 500. However, through a new collaboration with Holy Angels Church, the University will be able to use the church, which is located in the heart of the campus on Brown Street, when a larger space is needed.

“The Immaculate Conception Chapel is the spiritual heart of our campus and deserves a thoughtful and unified renovation that respects the chapel’s history (What does this mean?) and meets contemporary liturgical requirements,” (I’m afraid of what this means…) said Daniel J. Curran, president. “We’re very grateful for the gifts of trustees, alumni and friends making it possible for this project to go forward in August.

“We’re also very appreciative to Holy Angels Church for our new partnership that strengthens our Catholic education programs and will enable large gatherings of our campus community to worship together.”

The goal of the interior design is to unite all of the elements of the chapel into a warm, unified whole that retains essential traditions and history, said Beth Keyes, vice president for facilities. A number of existing elements will be reused and wood finishes, warm colors and simple elegance (another watch word, “simple”) will evoke the early beauty of the chapel (so does this imply they recognize there is less beauty today in the chapel?).

The altarpiece with Mary will be positioned to allow better sight lines of the circular window on the east wall. New stained glass windows along the walls of the nave will complement the jewel tones and traditional style of the windows of the saints currently behind the altar.

“The Church has always used art and architecture to raise our hearts and minds to the presence of God in our lives,” said Fitz. “The chapel reminds us that we need to set aside a place and a space for God in our daily lives.

Key aspects of the renovation will be:

  • Installation of wood pews and kneelers to retain the existing seating capacity, while creating better flow throughout the sanctuary in accordance with liturgical requirements. (This seems like an improvement.)
  • A vestibule for a gathering space with a glass wall just inside the front doors. The 18-foot, wooden entry doors will be refitted to open and close easily and will once again become the main entrance to the chapel. (Seems to be a functional improvement.)
  • A baptismal font will be placed near the entrance, and a small reservation chapel for Eucharistic adoration will be located near the altar. (Where is the baptismal font now? Is a baptistry being destroyed to move the font or is the font currently in the sanctuary or somewhere else? Reservation chapel?!?! I’m curious how this is going to be “near the altar.” If this is what I think it is, this is horrible! This is terrible! I hope this isn’t the broom closet that is typical of the reservation chapel concept.)
  • A modest addition on the south side will include restrooms, a reconciliation room (Another terrible idea. Are confessionals being ripped out for this reconciliation room or have they already been ripped out during previous renovations?), support space and a bride’s room.
  • Universal handicap accessibility will allow those with physical disabilities to have easier access not only to the chapel itself, but also allow fuller participation in the Mass (All very commendable…).
  • Upgrades to the lighting, HVAC, sound and other mechanical systems will enhance comfort and energy efficiency. The project will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, emphasizing sustainability in materials and design in order to be environmentally responsible and resource efficient. (As long as the goals remain efficiency and cost savings and not nutty, left-wing environmental silliness, this is all fine.)

The chapel has long been a popular location for alumni weddings, but starting July 28, Masses and weddings will be temporarily discontinued. The renovated chapel is expected to be rededicated in August, 2015, when regular use for Masses, weddings and other celebrations will resume.

For information on how to schedule weddings after the renovation, contact Campus Ministry at 937-229-2019. For updates during the renovation, visit udayton.edu/ministry.

Brightman & Mitchell Architects of Dayton, who have worked on many other area church projects such as St. Helen’s Church and Ascension Catholic Church, are creating the design. (I’m not terribly familiar with the specifics of St. Helen’s but I do know it is not particularly known for its traditional beauty. Ascension I can indeed confirm is a disaster of a church, both on the inside and outside, however a disaster no greater than any other suburban Catholic parish. But make no mistake, if you were building or renovating your church and the result was Ascension you would be angry.) Liturgical consultant Kenneth Griesemer has provided direction on the requirements for space, flow, function and design in accordance with Church documents (Or in accordance with someone’s misinterpretation of Church documents?). Renderings are expected to be available in January.

For more information, contact Cilla Shindell, director of media relations, at 937-229-3257 or shindell@udayton.edu.

I stopped into my neighborhood party supply store here in Dayton today and noticed a stack of flyers next to the cash register for the 30th annual Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Germanfest Picnic Friday 9 August through Sunday 11 August.

And what deeply spiritual event is set to occur at nigh 11am on Sunday to get the festival kicked off for its final day??? Votive Mass for St. Boniface, apostle of the Germans??? WRONG!!!! The best they could come up with is the ever-so-solemn “Polka Mass.”

While it is truly commendable that the Germanfest organizers considered Holy Mass as the best way to start the Germanfest for the final day, it is a travesty that they are doing so by having a profane and banal “Polka Mass.” This is yet another example of the desacralization and dumbing down of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “the source and summit” of the Christian life, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This “Polka Mass” is 100% completely counterproductive to the New Evangelization (I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the old Evangelization…). Please leave the polka music for the beer hall and Weird Al Yankovic.

Anyone wishing to respectfully share their thoughts on the importance of Holy Mass, the role sacred music plays in it and why the words “Polka” and “Mass” should never be spoken in the same sentence, is free to contact the event organizers at their website and Facebook pages.

 Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Website

Dayton Germanfest Picnic Facebook page

Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Facebook page

As previously mentioned, we are in the beginning stages of pondering next year’s educational choices for my oldest child, who turned four years old in January. Our parish does not have an elementary school. Many reached out on OTRITT with helpful suggestions and keen information, that I am very appreciative of. Ascension School, St. Albert the Great School, St. Anthony School, St. Charles Borromeo School, St. Helen School, Mary Queen of Peace School, Immaculate Conception School , St. Luke School, and Our and Lady of the Rosary School are the parochial/diocesan school choices geographically close enough to be considered; there is also the Immaculate Homeschool Enrichment and Resource Teachers (H.E.A.R.T.) Co-op; there is Dominion Academy, although not Catholic, it is a traditional Anglo-Christian school; there is Dayton Public Schools; there is the Emerson Academy, a Dayton charter school; and Kettering City Schools.

In the meantime while we mull that decision over, can anyone reccomend to us  a good catechetical book/s that is suited to be utilized with a 4-5 year old child?

From the the same  Dayton Deanery Region 6 (Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception; Church of St. Helen) pastoral team (Fr. David Brinkmoeller; Fr. Satish Joseph) that loves to boast of their “vibrant liturgies” in which they bring you weekly Rock masses, Folk masses that are complete with jazz pianos, drum kits, and electric guitars, as well as homilies on the importance of “sincerity” and conviction” when opposing Church teaching also brings you this lovely scene:

If anyone knows what religion is being practiced in these pictures, please fill me in, I’d love to know.

So, if this is how they pray, just imagine what they pray. Also, I would like to note, that it says something about a parish, not only that it posts pictures on its homepage but what pictures it chooses to post. The parish had a choice; these were the photos, and the message it wanted to send. Very interesting…

Now you can see, why it sometimes seems on this side of Dayton, one has to be a member of Holy Family parish if for nothing more than out of a simple sense of necessity. So fortunately folks do have other options close-by on Sundays and Holy Days. (Thank you to Archbishop Schnurr for making that a reality!)

*UPDATE: A reader (Mobartz) reminds us of another local Dayton parish, Emmanuel Catholic Church, that also does a darn good job in both areas of worship and faithfulness.*

However, this begs a particular important question for my family as both Immaculate Conception and St. Helen Schools are the two closest Catholic schools to our home. (Ascension School is also close, but Ascension Parish is just as bad as the above pictures) I have to decide whether this is something I want to expose my children to during weekly “school liturgies” and religion class.

There is no version of Walnut Hills High School in Dayton or any elementary school equivalent, all the Dayton public schools are dumps. Homeschooling isn’t really feasible for our family, although there is the Dayton Homeschool Network, so maybe, there is an outside chance we could make it work. Kettering is close enough to our home (we live in a Kettering zip code) perhaps I could “sneak” them into the Kettering city school district (yeah, they’ll get liberal brainwashing, but at least it wouldn’t be done under the name of Catholicism and it is a suburban schools, so it isn’t terrible). Since we live in Dayton, and are eligible for EdChoice vouchers, perhaps I could just send them to the secular progressive Miami Valley School. Yeah, the kiddies will get liberal brainwashing, but at least it wouldn’t be under the banner of Catholicism, and at least the academics would be a notch above typical government schools.

Ideally I would like to send them to a Catholic school. However, why send them to Catholic school for watered-down religion and Mass? I can just send them to a government school and avoid a lot of headaches. But I ask all of you, as well as Archdiocesan Superintendent Dr. Riggs, and His Excellency Archbishop Schnurr, what should I do????? Should I just assume the photos and homilies above are aberrations? I already know, if they end up going to Catholic school, I’ll be that parent in the principal and pastor’s office raising a fit everytime they take a field trip to the local mosque for an ” interfaith” prayer session. Do I really need these kind of additional hassles in my life?

I guess what I’m getting at is, should Catholic parents jump through these hoops, and have to even consider these matters in the first place? Can we at least have more than one parish around these parts that remotely resembles Catholicism?

Church teaching can be trashed one of two ways: 1)directly, and unabashedly like Roy Bourgeois;  or 2) though plain ambiguity. Now, with the former you usually can assign venial motives, however, with the latter it is usually too difficult to tell one way or the other. Regardless, the outcome is the same: 1) either Church teachings are interpreted by the faithful as being “nuanced” and therefore open to interpretation or as being left to one’s “personal conscience” to decide, or that the church teaching doesn’t even have an opinion on whatever issue it is that is being discussed. The faithful are left confused, and the salvation of souls takes another hit…which is why ambiguity should be avoided at all times when teaching the Faith.

With that in mind check out the following sermon from Fr. Satish Joseph, associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church Dayton, Ohio, on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2013:

Last December we had a very special parish council meeting. We invited three people who left the Catholic Church and three people who joined the Catholic Church to share their experience. We wanted to know why people make the decisions they make about belonging to a particular faith tradition. I soon realized that discussion like these are complex as well. I received two letters apart from the people who were present at the meeting; one from a young lesbian who feels unwelcomed in a Catholic environment and the other from a young mother who recently became Catholic but then could not reconcile her conscience with the church’s teaching on contraception. Those who were present at the meeting also shared their stories. Later when the parish council reflected on all their stories there were common strands we could identify. For one, we realized that those who had left the Catholic Church and those who joined her, were all very sincere people. Their choice was made out of a genuine conviction. But then, there is one trend that I found directly related to the three scripture readings today – a powerful experience of God. The Catholics who left the church did so because the Church could not give them what they were searching for – a God who was close and real. They found the church too rigid and ritualistic…

I would argue they didn’t find the church too rigid and ritualistic, they found the teachings of Christ too rigid and ritualistic.

Read the rest there. (Hey at least they get bonus points for using Latin in their web address!)

You’ll remember Immaculate Conception as the parish-of-choice for the Cincinnati archdiocese to host RCIA and ordination events in the Dayton area. It is also the parish that recently installed a digital, flashing neon marquee that flashes (and not too effectively I might add… the blue on black layout is only legible from the street roughly 50% of the time during daylight hours) in big letters advertising Mass…err, “Eucharistic Celebrations”: 11AM TRADITIONAL (…and by traditional they don’t mean the Mass of All Ages/TLM, they mean the one mass during the day without a guitar or drum solo.) SAT 4:30PM FOLK MASS, SUN 6PM ROCK MASS (… ah yes, the splendid liturgical diversity of the Latin Church…the Ambrosian rite, the Cathusian rite, the Dominican rite, the Mozoarabic rite…. and the Folk and Rock rites. Ugh! Is it 1993 or 2013? At least if “Folk” and “Rock” masses are still going on, do they have to advertise it to the whole world on Smithville Road?), and the propensity to utilize projector screens and Powerpoint slides in sacred worship space as well as the most up-to-date jargon/buzzwords for describing the latest parish initiatives. 

Now who knows where Fr. Joseph was going with this homily. I can tell you the liberal parishioners most certainly took it as a sly repudiation of Church teaching and walked away self-assured.  I’m not expecting fire and brim stone when it comes to issues such as homosexual acts, and the use of contraception, in fact, please no fire and brim stone, but at least explain something from the chapters of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s Section 2. Also, no mention of the Church’s ongoing struggles against the tyrannous HHS Mandate or against gay so-called marriage.  I can’t assign any ill-motive to Fr. Joseph, however this whole thing is a cautionary tale for those entrusted with teaching the Faith, particularly as it pertains to sensitive and contemporary social/political issues.

For clarity, Fr. Satish Joseph is below with the ponytail.

In honor of the Resurrection of our Lord, on Easter Tuesday Xavier University Cincinnati, Ohio will be having their student group “Students for Women’s Progress” (SWP) put on a campus production of The Vagina Monologues.   Kelly Leon, Xavier University’s director for strategic communication stated, “University administrators are working with faculty and SWP to ensure that information and viewpoints from an appropriate range of different perspectives will be presented, allowing students to pursue truth, all within the context of Xavier as a Jesuit Catholic University.”

And the band kept playing on…

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