The Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, WI

Absolutely stunning.  By the way, a great trip to Milwaukee besides the blizzard, and even that provided entertainment.  We arrived to the Basilica around 11, and found out at the last minute they have a noon Mass during Lent and adoration afterwards(not sure if it was because it was First Friday or because it was Lent).  I'll let the photos do the talking.  The only noticeable negative was the modification to put in a table altar and take out the communion rails in front of the center altar and baldacchino. You can see from the old picture that previously the altar rail extended the length of the church.

The Mass was, I thought, very well done.  The Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei were all chanted in Plainchant in their respective languages, and the Communio was chanted by the organist in Latin during Communion.  Frankly, the music was perfect for a daily Mass.  Anything more than Plainchant is too long for a daily Mass for the laity.  The priest exposed the blessed sacrament before the Postcommunion, which was weird since I started to kneel but everyone remained standing.  It looks like some of the regulars do weird things with when they stand as well.   But I received communion kneeling without incident and I thought rubrics were followed overall as well as the sacristan was dutiful in his work.

Anyone visiting Milwaukee should visit this church.   We went to the gift shop across the street and the woman working there gave some great background.  It was basically Bishop Callahan who was rector there at the time who took the need for roof repair(which eventually needed the whole dome replaced) and made it into a full fledged restoration.  Magnificent work, had the 1970s red carpet pulled out, and put statues back which had been ripped out and hidden in the attic from eager liturgists.  The website is lacking(I couldn't find a parish bulletin anywhere to see their regular schedule on the website or in the church), but the woman at the gift shop said a new site is in the works.  I have to say, this is the most beautiful church I've ever seen in person.

Before the table altar added.

Crypt chapel was also well adorned.
 and to my defense, I did not see this until I was leaving.  But then again, I don't profit at all from my photos so I don't think it applies to me.


  1. Thanks for the pictures. I love St. Josaphat-- it may be the most beautiful church in North America. The dining room table, though made of noble materials, detracts from the splendor. Like a pimple on the Mona Lisa, it needs to go.

    How long before the Church is healthy again?

  2. Those will look great on the Badger Catholic postcards we're printing up.

  3. Yes timman, the way the sanctuary was curved out as well was obvious to me a modern invention even before I saw the picture of the original.

    It's unfortunate that modern inventions are applied to churches who's architects and artists designed a church in a different way. If a new church is built with a free standing altar, okay fine, it could be done well. But there is no need to insert something into an already existing work of art. It's like covering up the genitals on the creation picture in the Sistine Chapel.

  4. LOL, Virginia, I'll save that story for the next church I visited.

  5. Isn't it awesome? I was there many years ago - I'm so happy it escaped demolition and wreckovation.

  6. Amazing Terry, and honestly I found it an "easy" place to pray if you know what I mean. I was not distracted.

  7. Thanks for posting. The pictures look great. Nice job getting the pavilion (umbrella). I have like this basilica better than the St Mary's Bascilia in Minneapolis, even though St Mary's still has communion rails. I have put up pictures of it the other day, even though they didn't turn out as well. I'm with you about 'adding' a section for the altar of 'sacrafice'when the original structure was built for it.


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