February 13, 2011

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

For this Sunday, a couple of images from the church. As promised, the front of the organ, complete with one of the only remaining stained glass windows. At least it was there when I shot this in 2009. Below is a shot of the balcony and choir loft from the floor of the church.

The process of shuttering the church includes removing any religious iconography. Any stained glass windows that depicted stations of the cross, or saints are removed. The construction guys told me that a crane was brought in to remove the cross that sat atop the church. Of course the altar would also be removed. From a practical standpoint, the pews were taken out and reused, or the wood sold and repurposed.

Engraved in the wood behind this gorgeous organ is the phrase, “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” – Latin for “To the Greater Glory of God,” the motto of the Society of Jesus, a religious order within the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. The phrase is designed to reflect the idea that any work that is not evil can be meritorious for the spiritual life if it is performed with this intention, even things considered normally indifferent. (thank you, Wikipedia).

I grew up Catholic, although these days, I’m more of a wedding and funeral guy when it comes to church going. Nonetheless, I am in awe of the craftsmanship that went into building these magnificent old houses of worship.

Lowell Massachusetts is the home of several Roman Catholic churches, built by the same immigrant craftsman who would ultimately attend services in the churches they helped build.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this is one of several churches the Archdiocese of Boston was forced to close several years ago. Also on the list was the Sacred Heart Church, my old neighborhood church. I attended its grammar school, it was where my sisters got married and it was where my father’s funeral was held. Sad.

Its still standing. I drive past it a couple of times a month and wonder if I can get in. I would love the opportunity to shoot it as I did St John the Baptist.

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  1. These two images play really well off of each other. Processing is spot on – nothing over the top, you let the actual scenes do the talking.

  2. Both shots are incredible. The first one gave me the details, while the second one gave the real magnitude of that organ.
    I can’t believe they are tearing down this place (?); it is an architectural piece of art.