(The linked panorama is composed from five photos taken with a fisheye lens. I also made a much larger panorama from 37 wide-angle shots (printed at 300 dpi, it would be nearly eight feet wide and four feet high), but it’s larger than I want to upload to this site, and it has some annoying glitches.)
The big 360° panorama I did yesterday didn’t turn out properly, and I’m not publishing it. I did salvage a piece of it, above. It’s the altar of St. Anthony Church in Wichita, east of the central business district.1
St. Boniface parish was erected in 1886 to serve German-speaking Catholics in the Wichita area, and a wooden church was built the next year. Franciscans took up residence around 1890. When a more permanent church was built during the first decade of the 20th century, it was named for the Franciscan St. Anthony of Padua. Nowadays the best place in the area to find German Catholics is western Sedgwick county, and St. Anthony has become a center of Vietnamese Catholic activity.
Update: Here’s the quick and dirty version of the panorama, using five images taken with a fisheye lens rather than 37 at the wide end of a cheap but sharp zoom. It’s much smaller and less detailed than the large one, but it gives you an idea of what the interior of the church looks like. I hope to return soon to the church, preferably on an overcast day, and make a full-size panorama that meets my standards.
A hundred years ago today, Muriel Spark, my favorite Major Catholic Writer of the 20th Century,1 was born in Edinburgh. To celebrate, the Scottish literary magazine The Bottle Imp has published an issue devoted to her writing. Overall, the articles are interesting, readable and free of academese, though of course no substitute for reading Spark herself.
If you haven’t read Spark, do so. Before she was a novelist, she was a poet, and her prose is a pleasure to read. Her novels are precisely as long as they need to be and not one word longer. Her best-known, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is a good one to start with, as is Memento Mori, a funny story about old people dying. (There’s more to it than that, of course.) There are also her short stories.
Accumulated odds and ends:
Is Obama Catholic? No, and Dennis McDonough is an idiot.
Is the Pope Catholic? That’s a much more interesting question. Edward Feser supplies some useful background, including notes about Popes Honorius, John XXII and Liberius.
Hyperplay will provide hours — well, minutes — of fun for the mathematically inclined and the easily entertained.
Those who sing pray twice; therefore it stands to reason that those who sing bad modern church songs commit heresy twice.
A note on Nathaniel Hawthorne from Flannery O’Connor:
… Hawthorne couldn’t stand Emerson or any of that crowd. When one of them came in the front door, Hawthorne went out the back. He met one of them one morning and snarled, “Good Morning Mr. G., how is your Oversoul this morning?”
O’Connor may be the greatest Catholic writer of fiction of the 20th century, but the book of hers I most enjoy is a collection of her letters, The Habit of Being.
It was my good fortune half a lifetime ago to spend time around Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, who passed away recently. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, in his homily at Lorenzo’s funeral, tells some stories that illustrate one side of Lorenzo’s memorable personality.
It was also around that time when Lorenzo first met Cardinal O’Boyle the Archbishop of Washington. Lorenzo and I spent a lot of time at St. Matthews Cathedral where I was working with Rosario Corredera and the Hispanic community. Lorenzo used to drive me very often. One day, as he was wont to do, Lorenzo parked in the Cardinal’s parking space… (Any ‘no parking’ sign was an invitation to Lorenzo.) At that moment Cardinal O’Boyle was approaching and confronted Lorenzo: “who are you,” he asked. Lorenzo replied: “I am the Cardinal”. Cardinal O’Boyle, who was something of a curmudgeon, answered back: “I am the Cardinal!” To which Lorenzo said: “yes, you are the day Cardinal; I am the night Cardinal.”
It is no wonder that after his first Mass, Lorenzo’s mother asked me to bless her new apartment. I said, “But, doña Conchita, your son was just ordained.” She said, “Yes, padre, but I think he is joking.”
There’s more at the Cardinal’s site. (Scroll down to “Tuesday.”)
For those of you who use your computer to make noise, Native Instruments is offering a nice little compressor for free through the end of the year. NI’s Mikro Prism is another interesting freebie, a soft synth with a distinctive sound.
(Via man with black hat.)
Something I came across this morning: Christian “popular” music that isn’t embarrassing. ((Although there are many good musicians who are seriously religious, the only one marketed as a “Christian” performer whom I enjoy listening to is Phil Keaggy, a superb guitarist and pretty good singer and songwriter.)) In 1976, Sister Irene O’Connor, a Franciscan nun in Australia, recorded the album Fire of God’s Love, playing every instrument and singing every vocal part. It wasn’t exactly a runaway hit in its day, and the vinyl now is a fabulous rarity. Here’s the reverb-drenched “Fire (Luke 12:49)” from the album:
Far more listenable than anything the St. Louis Jesuits and their ilk ever produced (faint praise, yes). You can listen to two more tracks here, but apparently that’s all there is of the album that’s online.
Remember “St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies“? Here it is again, this time with illuminating captions. (But where’s Voltron?)
The bishop administered Confirmation this Pentecost Sunday at the Cathedral this morning. While he was annointing the confirmandi, a string quartet in the choir loft played the “nocturne” from Borodin’s quartet. I would have enjoyed it under other circumstances, but this was the wrong place and time for the music. I suppose I should grateful that it wasn’t Marty Haugen or the St. Louis Jesuits.
… so here is St. Patrick evangelizing the Irish, with a cameo by Voltron.
(Via a comment at God and the Machine.)
If you’re a creative sort, you have an opportunity to collaborate with Neil Gaiman. Unfortunately, the deadline is next Monday. I wish I’d heard about this earlier.
There are more comet pictures here.
Vertical, Inc., is considering whether to translate Yusuke Kishi’s Shin Sekai Yori. If an English-language copy of the novel would be worth $25 to you, go to Vertical’s Tumblr page and “like” it. They need 4500 people to express an interest before they’ll undertake the project, and I was only #699.
Kishi does have one book available in English translation. I’ll probably include The Crimson Labyrinth in my next Amazon.com order.
If you’re not watching the anime Shin Sekai Yori, you’re missing one of the finest — and most nightmarish — science fiction stories ever broadcast.
You can watch it in 1080 if your computer can handle it.
Professor Mondo‘s novel is now available as pixels at Amazon.com. I just got a new pair of glasses, so I’ll probably wait for the print edition and read it the way books were meant to be read, on dead trees. You can read one of his short stories here.
A note on current events in the Catholic Church: everything you read in the secular press is complete and absolute BS. Don’t believe anything you read. I suggest checking in occasionally with Elizabeth Scalia if you want an informed perspective.
Which famous British poet is this? The answer is here.
(Via Eve Tushnet.)
The renovations at the Catholic cathedral in Wichita are finally complete, and it reopens Saturday. Here is a slide show of some recent pictures I took there.
The music is from the Open Goldberg Variations.
Update: Here’s the cathedral with people inside: