Sunday, September 22, 2013

The people of Fargo are sane and normal and Catholic...

So says Kevin O'Brien in his blog Waiting for Godot to Leave.
Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo ND. Exterior from the North
(Design Architect: Liturgical Environs PC; Architect of Record: Zerr-Berg)

What the Church Is (Illustrated)

  • The Church is the Body of Christ.  It is people, members of the Body, living together, loving one another, sharing the great vision, a perspective that includes all of reality.  It is a living culture, a vital thing.

  • The Church is Fargo, North Dakota. Who would have expected that?  The Church of St. Anne & Joachim, built only three years ago, is one of the most tremendous churches in North America (see photos below).  It is filled with beautiful new stained glass - the kind I was told could not be made any more, as all craftsmen had lost the skill.  It is filled with stunning mosaics of the Stations, with quotations etched in marble from Scripture, with statues and with beauty. The people of Fargo are sane and normal and Catholic.  Fargo is what Ave Maria, Florida is trying to be.  In Ave Maria it is a deliberate, artificial construct.  In Fargo it has grown up naturally, the fruit of many years of having good solid orthodox bishops.  Fargo shows us what the Catholic Church not only could be - but what it really is.
Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo ND. Interior of the Nave toward the Sanctuary
(Design Architect: Liturgical Environs PC; Architect of Record: Zerr-Berg)

Kevin's comments are prompted by his visit to Sts Anne and Joachim in Fargo, which was a wonderful project for us to design for the parish. Under the pastoral guidance of Fr Brian Bachmeier, with the full support of then Bishop Sam Aquila, the entire community came to understand what was at stake liturgically, theologically, aesthetically, and culturally, and what they needed to do as Catholics called to manifest the Heavenly Jerusalem in their own home town. 

It is a deliberately *sacramental* building -- "a sign and symbol of the heavenly realities" -- as the Church calls us always to strive for. What a blessing to have been involved in the project.

Entirely sane. Entirely normal. Entirely Catholic.

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