Monday, February 25, 2008

Judeo-Christian Architecture 2

We didn't last long in the museum and walked back along Mission Street in front of the incongruous brick facade...

...wondering what "contemporary" meant in the context of a Jewish Museum.

"Does this mean old Jewish history is not allowed, or what?" I asked Patrick.

He was as mystified as myself, but when I asked if he'd ever been in St. Patrick's Church next door, he happily offered a brief tour of the place.

"They've stopped having their noontime concert series, which is awful, and I'm thinking of writing about it," he told me. (Check out his blog, "Reverberate Hills," by clicking here.)

"This church is VERY Latin," he told me, with a knowing smile, and I wasn't sure if he was referring to its Latino congregation and pastoral staff (their names all seem to be Filipino), or if they performed masses in Latin secretly, or if "Latin" referred to something else altogether.


pjwv said...

OK, let me clarify: I said, "This is very Latin," referring specifically to the statue of Jesus in the corner near the entrance, which was almost life-size, realistically mournful, and dressed like a deified Ken doll in an actual cloth robe, which could be changed with the church festivals. That's a very Latin thing to do, common to the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, and it spread from them to their colonies (or melded with similar pre-existing styles in countries they conquered). St Patrick's itself was built for and by Irish immigrants (hence the name and all the green marble), though by now I think the congregation is mostly Filipino or Mexican.

lil m said...

My friend, whose father immigrated from Ireland got married at St Pat's awhile back. The priest's delivery of the sermon in such a deep Filipino accent with the ensuing churchly echo, meant none of us 'Merican speakers understood much of the ceremony.

It was rather surreal...

sfmike said...

Dear lil m: That sounds like a great, surreal story, and having just gone into the church for the first time I can visualize it completely.

And Patrick: Thank you for the Ken doll cloth robe clarification. As I wrote to you personally, you really need to go and experience Mexican cathedrals in person if you really want to get into awesome Catholic people's art that's been going on for centuries. It's gory, kitschy, fabulous and potent, and I can't praise it highly enough. Plus, unlike Europe, Mexico hasn't been bombed to bits. Its Golden Age cathedrals are oddly untouched.