Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sneak Preview: St Mary's Centenary Makeover

Wow, what's the Pope doing going to Philly and Washington and the Big Apple when he could come to Olean?   St Mary of the Angels has got to be one of the loveliest churches in western New York, a miniature Gothic cathedral, designed by French-born architect Emile Uhlrich. Ah for the old days when churches were built to look like churches and not gasworks.

St Mary's is about to celebrate its centenary. It's always been beautiful, thanks to some sensible parish priests who didn't try to modernise, aka wreckovate it. Now there's been some more restoration. I sneaked in by a side door and managed to grab some pictures, just as they were removing the scaffolding. "Ah the first photos!" one of the workman quipped. So here you are -  a scoop.

The church and especially the stained glass was always spectacular but now there seems a new, fresh glow about the place.

A positive radiance in fact.

 Not many churches where you can see the old high altar and altar rail still intact.

But what really bowled me over was the ceiling - all blue and gold, apparently restored to its original state.

 I hope it's all still there in another hundred years.

1 comment:

  1. As a child at Mass I would stare at the beautiful windows and paintings and statues and statues and altar while listening to the stories about God and the prayers to God. It impacted me for life in the best way. Many images were covered with gold and blue velvety paisleyish wallpaper in the 70s, but the amazing images were revealed during a renovation in the 1980s just in time for my wedding to a fellow parishioner. It was gorgeous - unbelievable that the namesake Saint Mary and the angels had been covered with wallpaper! But a lovely church was instantly grand. And now this new painting treatment is stunning. Having lived in Europe for 7 years where we travelled extensively to many churches we are always amazed at how arresting the beauty of St. Mary's of the Angels is. Amen.