Friday, July 26, 2013

Christ the King Cathedral, Superior, WI

Well since it's locked all hours of the day, we went to Mass at the Superior Cathedral to get a look.  The grounds are huge and looking around outside it definitely feels like a Cathedral.  Unfortunately the interior suffers from a pretty painful wreckovation.  I'd love to see original pictures if anyone knows where I could find them.  Mind you, not a Level 1 Wreckovation(ala Milwaukee Cathedral), but a pretty good scar still visible.  Even some odd anti-symmetry stuff going on in the ustabe choir loft.  But I did get a sense of what must have been a strong Catholic presence in the north woods.  The liturgy was a little below average.  The priest on one hand talked about hearing Confessions for 11 hours at a Steubenville conference, but also was one of those walk out in the middle homilists and executed the post-communion sitting?  First time I've ever seen that.  Was very nice to talk to after Mass, and from what I've seen in the diocese is probably more orthodox than most.  Still, I get the sense that some folks cross the bridge for Mass.  Music, surprisingly not terrible considering everything located up by the sanctuary.  Unfortunately piano accompanied some parts like the Responsorial Psalm, but the organ was used for most hymns.  Hymns selection was also decent, the recessional was something I've heard at the La Crosse Cathedral(best cathedral music program in the state).  I should take notes, I can't remember which hymn it was now.





My son was none too impressed with the sanctuary.


This poor organ wants to go home to her choir loft.

St. Kateri

I'm told these are the confessionals



18 comments:

  1. I don't like the "presider's" chair directly behind the altar. Draws excessive attention to the priest not the holy sacrifice on the altar. This worship space has potential but I don't like its present configuration. Where is the tabernacle? I know...out of obvious view. Altar servers in albs not cassocks. Ick! Is the TLM/EF ever celebrated here?

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    1. The tabernacle is in plain view, unless you are in the main aisle, then the cathedra is obscuring the view. Nevertheless, while it is visible from the pews, it DOES have its own chapel of sorts which is screened apart from the sanctuary. This is in keeping with traditional standards...even the 1917 Code of Canon Law commented that it might be best for cathedrals to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved in separate chapels:

      "But in cathedral churches or in collegial or conventual ones in which choral functions are conducted at the main altar, lest ecclesiastical officials be impeded, it is opportune that the most holy Eucharist not regularly be kept at the major altar but in another chapel or altar."

      The reasoning was that clergy could have more convenient access to the tabernacle, that Catholics could worship the Blessed Sacrament in a space without being distracted by gawking tourists, and that its placement wouldn't impede on the sort of antiphonal arrangements of the choir, which you often see in cathedrals.

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    2. Furthermore, the "presider's chair" you mention is the throne of the bishop, and its placement is appropriate. The pope's cathedra, in St. John Lateran, is also situated directly behind the altar of that 4th century church.

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    3. The tabernacle can be seen in the opening of the modern rendition of a rood screen, and a tabernacle lamp is suspended above it. But...hmmm... the tabernacle is also directly behind the presider's chair which could also put focus on presider. Even if the laity could see past the presider and his chair, the choir's seating area also obscures tabernacle. Finally, sadly, I'm guessing it isn't the priest but an extraordinary minister who enters the holy of holies so that design choice seems awkward at best.

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    4. Good points. I'd like to get a better look for myself. Even from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I think moving the chair and creating an antiphonal arrangement with the chairs in the choir would be a big step in the right direction.

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  2. I bet EMHC's walked down the aisle half way to the middle distribute Communion too.

    When did the renovation take place? Under whose watch?

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  3. The trouble with any Vosko renovation is that beautiful materials are used, but the results are off-base.

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    1. This is the first time I've heard Vosko's name. I googled a bit and I assume that it would be Fr. Richard S. Vosko? Ahh, I see he also did Milwaukee's cathedral as well, definitely not as severe in this church. Very interesting, thanks for this tidbit. Does anyone know when he "renovated" the Superior Cathedral?

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    2. http://www.rvosko.com/pages/projectdetail.asp?projectID=49# Here's before and after

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  4. That altar is atrocious. It is far too small.

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  5. We visited last summer and someone from the parish office had a "tour guide" who walked us through and gave us a bit of the history of the diocese and the changes to the "worship space". At least it appears as if someone removed the dream catcher that was hanging behind the statue of St. Kateri when we visited last summer. :-)

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  6. In reading "conservative" or "traditionalist" Catholic blogs, I constantly am
    given the impression that the blogsites say again and again that traditionalists are all about the superficial aspects of Cathololicism and usually never about the substance of the Gospel and Catholic Christianity.

    For example, what does "...since it was locked all day, we went to Mass to get a look." tell you about what is valued--the Mass or looking critically?
    "Liturgy was below average" indicates to me that this evaluation of the Liturgy had little understanding of Eucharistic Theology but was driven by the writer's being blinded to the profound nature of the Euchaarist by his own judgemental preferences.

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    1. The Green Bay Cathedral is the same way, they lock it less than an hour after Mass. The reason I mentioned it is because I wanted to visit on previous trips to Superior but it is always locked. So one sure way to get in is to go for Mass.

      Wow, I didn't even intend this to be controversial. If you want to abide by what the Church actually teaches on liturgy, there is a standard(and for good reason), and it is an abuse of the laity to take away what the Church wants to give them. .... LOL, I'm not even sure how to respond to the Liturgy being called "superficial." Good liturgy makes good Christians. If the liturgy is "superficial" then we should remove it from Church life. "Eucharistic Theology" teaches that the liturgy is fundamental to Christian life.

      I stand by my comments, and I don't think I was being unfair or uncharitable. If I use the GIRM and Sacrosanctum Concilium as a measuring stick, the observations are valid. Look at AGS's comments above if you are interested in how to have a constructive discussion with someone you disagree with.

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  7. The altar is so small for the size of the church. It looks like a side table.

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  8. question: are those chairs behind the altar for a choir?

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  9. http://www.rvosko.com/pages/projectdetail.asp?projectID=50# Looks like he did a similar wreck-o-vation in Rochester, NY. ugh.

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  10. It's actually not that uncommon for an organ to be located elsewhere in a church besides the choir loft. And especially if there is a large gap between the ambo (for the psalm) and cantor's podium (for everything else) and the the loft, this can be useful in keeping the cantor and organist together. Some large cathedrals have a small response organ up front or sometimes there's a wheelable "portative" which is a tiny organ moveable organ that I've seen used for proclamation of the Psalm.

    Regarding the renovation, I think it's... not my favorite church in the world. But remember what it looked like before it's current incarnation, and be thankful for the improvements made, even if they aren't perfect.

    I've included a link for reference:
    http://www.rvosko.com/pages/projectdetail.asp?projectID=49#

    Also, if you don't like Asymmetry, I suggest you never visit ancient catholic churches. They're loaded with it, and it's great.

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