Bishop Frederic Irenaeus Baraga had recently been declared venerable by the Holy See, and that a possible miracle for his beatification was under investigation. Baraga, the Slovene "snowshoe priest" was an early missionary in the region of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and in addition to serving as first bishop of Sault Sainte Marie, also translated the Scriptures into Ojibway. I was just as exited to hear a new chapel for his tomb was planned for the handsome neo-Romanesque St. Peter's Cathedral in Marquette--until I saw the official renderings. I laud Bishop Sample of Marquette for proactively moving forward with a new devotional tomb space for the bishop (like any ecclesiastical project, no easy task today), but the design, while better than it might have been, still represents a lost opportunity.continue at New Liturgical Movement
In this day and age, amid a growing revival of traditional art and design, that what might become the tomb of an American saint--a rare breed indeed--would be designed in an uninteresting, anonymously neo-modern pseudo-traditional style is surprising. Perhaps I should be grateful for the traditional nods--stained glass, arches, stone walls--which the design includes. The problem is not that the design is searingly avant-garde, but that it is far too timid and inarticulate.