21 October 2011

Our New Church

I finally remembered to bring a camera to the parish church the family and I joined about a year ago.  It is a pretty church, and it is the most intact church in Toronto that I know of.  It did get hit by renovations, but the touch here was far lighter than in most other parishes I know.  Without further ado, here are some photos of the church.  I make the usual disclaimer:  as a photographer, I am a decent writer.

Here's the church from the back, looking to the altar(s).

A side altar in the transept dedicated to St Rita.  According to the parish website, this altar and the one in the opposite transept was built in 1926.  The statue was a gift from his Eminence Cardinal Raphale Merry Del Val. Beside the altar, with the hymn numbers hung on it, is the original pulpit. I could kick myself for not getting a good photograph of it, for this is the only Catholic church in Toronto that I know of that still has its pulpit.  The arches on the side of the pulpit are for holding statues.  Whether or not it ever held statues, I cannot say.  The pulpit is not used anymore... but it could be.  Personally, I think that would be, as my daughters are fond of saying "way cool".  (See kids?  Dad is hip and "down with" your lingo.)

Moving along to the front is the marble altar of Mary.  In front of the altar is one of the two remaining fragments of the original altar rail. 

The church website tells some interesting facts about the statue which adorns this altar:  "The statue of the Blessed Virgin was purchased in May. 1911 for the church by the children of St. Cecilia’s School. The pupils raised $64.00 by saving their self-denial money during lent." 

Beside St Mary's altar is a statue of St Patrick.  The website dates the statue and a companion one on the other side of the high altar:  "In 1932 the church purchased the white marble statues of Saint Patrick and Saint Anthony which stand between the sanctuary and the side altars on marble pedestals." 

The high altar.  Until fairly recently, I was unaware that it was a common practice for churches to have a statue of the church patron to be placed on the high altar, mainly because I saw so few high altars remaining. 

I was told that the two pedestals on either side of the altar were originally intended to hold statues of Sts Peter and Paul, but unfortunately they were shipped to Canada during World War Two.  A German torpedo sent the ship carrying them to the bottom of the ocean, and replacements were never purchased.  They now hold some lights.

The arch around the high altar is decorated with paintings.  More on these in a moment.

The third of the marble altars, this one dedicated to St Joseph, Beside the altar is the statue of St Anthony mentioned earlier.  Also visible is the remaining fragment of the communion rail.
From the Website:

In the late 1920’s, three white marble altars were acquired. The one which graces the high altar was a gift from Mrs. Alexandra Heydon, in memory of her husband. The white marble statue of Saint Cecilia which stands above the Tabernacle was a gift to the Parish from His Eminence Cardinal Rampolla. The altars were consecrated by Archbishop McNeil on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1928. Smaller white marble altars also grace the east and west sides. The east altar is in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the west altar in honour of Saint Joseph. Also in 1928, Bishop Alexander McDonald blessed the newly acquired statue of Saint Cecilia which graces the steeple tower on the exterior of the church.

Between the St Joseph altar and the west transept is a statue of the crucifixion.

The next transept holds another altar, a pair to the one dedicated to St Rita, this one dedicated to the Sacred Heart.

This altar, like that of St Rita, has its own communion rail, still intact.  I wonder if the little statues around the altar may have once stood on the pulpit.  They're about the right size.

There are paintings on the walls throughout the church.  Here is an angel above the Sacred Heart altar.

More angels.

The website tells the story of the paintings and decorations in some detail:

In 1917, the interior of the Church was painted buy a famous artist of the time, Mr. P.C. Brown at the cost of $2,500.00. Paintings of the twelve apostles decorated the back wall of the sanctuary (and have since been painted over). Mr. Brown was also responsible for painting the heavenly choirs of angels on the ceiling in various attitudes of adoration, depiction of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the western wall of the sanctuary and of the Resurrection on the eastern wall. Still visible today are the Ascension of Jesus on the forward ceiling on the south side and the Coronation of Our Lady which appear on the opposite panel. Above the stained-glass windows that grace the east and west walls of the main body of the church, Mr. Brown completed twenty-four paintings symbolic of the Christian virtues. Originally painted above Saint Joseph’s Altar was the Transfiguration and over Our Lady’s Shrine the Assumption. Also a portrait of Saint Cecilia could be viewed from the gallery and on either side of her portrait were historical paintings and representing respectively, Saint Augustine landing in England, and Saint Patrick preaching to the Celts. These have since been painted over. In 1957, the decorations, murals and paintings that grace the walls of St. Cecilia were renewed by the son of the original artist. They remained essentially the same with the above noted exceptions.
A stained glass window of St Patrick.  It goes well with the statue of St Patrick and the banner of St Patrick (not shown).  Just in case there was any doubt as to the original congregation.

Lastly, a confessional, in front of which is a young lady who really needs to get into one.

So that is the interior of my new church.  I may take a camera back and get some more photographs of the interior, including the plaques in the narthex.  It is a very pretty church, though it is in need of some repair.  They are collecting funds to do some repair work and restoration.  Please, please, let it be a restoration.  


Patience said...

My grandparents were married there in 1926. What is the Mass like there? I seem to remember at one point they offered a Latin Mass as well as some in Vietnamese.

Bear-i-tone said...

It is now the home of the Vietnamese martyrs parish.

I have some old family ties to this parish- a great aunt and her daughter, my godmother, attended this church.

Mass is done well, for the most part. I can't think of any great abuses. They have good cantors. There are three priests who regularly say the Mass I attend. Two of them speak English as a second language, which I actually like, as thy are more likely to stick with the Missal. The third one sticks to the Missal of his own accord. I am quite content with this parish.

Jim Stettner said...

Do the have a pipe organ?

Bear said...