Saturday, December 30, 2006

Parish Links

I've started adding to the parish links. The ones I've started with have both good buildings and tolerable websites. I may have missed a couple, so absense doesn't mean anything.

Sts. Peter and Paul, Sandusky

I borrowed this from their WEBSITE . Very impressive. The trefoil window nad the arcade in the tower are fantastic. I like the treatment of the tower parapet but it looks later. In fact, the whole top story on the tower could have been added later. Does anyone know? If it was, they did a very good job.

Cardinal Stritch

Bishops of Toledo have a tendency to rise in the hierarchy. None rose farther than Samuel Alphonsus, Cardinal Stritch. When he became Toledo's bishop, in 1921, he was the youngest bishop in the US. He was just 34. Stritch went on to become Archbishop of Milwaukee, Archbishop of Chicago, and, as Pro-prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the first American to head a branch of the Curia. You'll find a good outline of the Cardinal's life HERE .

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I'll be posting at The Roving Medievalist tomorrow, about the Medieval section of the Toledo Museum of Art. It should be good.

The Diocesan Headquarters

Very good for an old warehouse. I like the statue.

A Slight Complaint About Parish Websites, and the Lack Thereof

I've been going through the diocesan website, which is excellent, looking for parish websites. The results are discouraging. Most don't have them. Some seem to have started them and lost interest. A couple of the links on the parish section of the diocesan site lead directly to advertising sites that have nothing to do with the parishes. When, lo and behold, I actually find a site, it's a mixed bag. Some are very good, some competant, some completely awful.
Let me tell you something. The internet, like it or not, is your first line of outreach. Someone new to the area is likely to go there first. If your parish doesn't have a website and the one next door has a good one, what do you think will happen? And another thing, I found some sites that bent over backwards to talk about how welcoming and open their "communities" were. Guess what? They're among the worst. They're usually poorly designed and boring as all get out. All that yapping is just going to drive people away in sheer boredom. Others just list events and news. Good, but don't forget to update. Your bulletin from September is not all that interesting in December. But at least they're all trying.
I attribute a lot of this to what I call The Toledo Time Warp. When I moved here, it was like stepping back in time. I felt like shouting "come on, people! Wake up. The sixties are over and so are the seventies." Building a website is not a terribly difficult thing. I had very little knowledge of computers before I started blogging this year. My family basically ignored the 20th century and was a bit uncomfortable with the 19th. I'm not, by nature, a technophile. Far from it. But look at what I'm doing here. Any parish has someone who can get the ball rolling. Get the youth group involved. If you don't have a youth group, don't bother. You need to concentrate on correcting that first. But do something. It's the beginning of the 21st century and opting out is no longer an option.
What should a good parish website have? Absolute minimum: 1. A good picture of the church building. A nice building is a priority for most people these days, contrary to what we all heard spouted in the seventies. If you have an ugly building ( And, oh, my, some of you do! ), use a good picture of some detail. Whatever looks beautiful. 2. Location, Mass schedule, office contact information. This is not negotiable, but some people forget anyway. 3. Everything else is just bells and whistles. Those are the essentials.
And, please! Skip the high-faluting "mission statement". We're all Catholic, we're supposed to know the Church's mission. Most people coming from out in the real world feel that way, at least. If this offends anyone? Too bad, you need to hear it.

An Amazing Resemblance

I got an e-mail from khammer a while back pointing out that Sts. Peter and Paul, in the Old South End, and St. Aloysius, in Carthagena are almost identical. Have a look at THIS . There's a slight difference on the spire and St. Aloysius has one door not three, but not much else. Now Sts. Peter and Paul was designed by Carl Schon and built in 1868. St Aloysius was designed by Anton de Curtins and completed in 1878. This is interesting. What was the connection?

St. Mary's in Tiffin

A regular reader of this blog, who I know only as khammer, sent some links about St. Mary's. They just celebrated their 175th anniversary. I borrowed the photograph from an internet gallery by Christopher Harben. You'll find it HERE . It's well worth a visit. This is a truly magnificent building. The murals, stained glass, and plaster ( or terra cotta? ) decoration are exceptional. There seems to be an altar missing, but the crucifix is a good one and the tabernacle's in the right place. If you look at the stained glass in the gallery of photographs, you'll find it's rather unusual. I can't seem to put a date on it. If anyone knows, please leave a comment. The parish website is HERE

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Running Late

I'm behind schedule but I'll try to add another post later, and some links. A reader e-mailed me some interesting material that I'm going through, including St. Mary's in Tiffin. I'll get something up about it as soon as I can.

Immaculate Conception, Old south End

A close-up of the ironwork on the doors. There are elaborate scrolls like this on all three double doors in front.
More posts and links this afternoon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

A tondo of glazed terra cotta from the workshop of Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia. c1500. Louvre.

St. Michael's in Hicksville

I'm looking for pictures from other areas of the diocese. This one has a nice tower.

Merry Christmas

There are special posts at Just A Comment , with the Christmas story as illustrated in the Tres Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry, and at Triumphant Baroque on an Italian Nativity scene.

The Cathedral Gets Noticed

I just found a good review of the Cathedral on one of the most popular Catholic blogs. It's run by a group of students and graduates at Notre Dame and has the curious name The Shrine of the Holy Whapping . Matthew Alderman, who did the post, is a very good architect himself. His opinions are always worth noticing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Immaculate Conception, Old South End

The St. Anne altar. Another good design by Joseph Huber. The marble work was done at Pietrasanta, in Italy.

St. James, on Colburn

This one had to be closed, but its memory lives on in the Old South End. The altar and a fine statue of St. James have been moved to Immaculate Conception, where they're treasured. I understand why parishes have to be closed now and then. It's a difficult and painful decision, like so many things in life. One thing, though. Even though I'm a staunch preservationist, when a parish is closed, I'd rather see the building torn down. It just doesn't seem right to put them to other uses.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Looks Different, Doesn't It?

The original plans for the Cathedral included a bell tower. This postcard sort of jumped the gun. Frankly, I wish they'd been able to finish it. It would have added so much to the design.

The Irish Madonna of St. Stephen's

One of Toledo's treasures is a copy of the Irish Madonna, acquired by Bishop Schrembs in Hungary and given to St. Stephen's Church in Birmingham. What was an Irish Madonna doing in Hungary? That's quite a story.
The original painting is in the Cathedral of Gyor, but it had come from the Cathedral of Clonfert, in Ireland. When Walter Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert, was arrested by Cromwell's troops, he was able to rescue the painting. Lynch had a particular devotion to the image and took it with him when he was sent into exile. He ended up serving as an auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Gyor. He died there and is buried in the crypt of the cathedral, near the painting he had brought so far. But the story doesn't end there. In 1697, a law was passed expelling all priests from Ireland, confiscating the churches, and outlawing the Faith. On March 17, 1697, the feast of St. Patrick, the image of Our Lady was seen to weep tears of blood. Remember, no one in Gyor had any idea what was happening at the time in Ireland, the original home of the image. That was discovered much later. Thousands of people flocked to the cathedral and observed the miracle. People of all faiths, including Protestants and Jews attested to what they had witnessed. To this day, Catholics from all over the world go as pilgrims to Gyor to pay homage to the image of Our Lady who cried for Ireland.
For a more detailed account of the story, click HERE.

St. Francis de Sales

Another good church interior to Toledo's credit. Please excuse the quality of the pictures. They were taken quickly after a weekday Mass, without tripod and with poor lighting. It was a cloudy day and not much light was coming through the windows.
The main altar, with some of the finest vaults in Toledo above it. At the base are figures of the twelve Apostles.

Our Lady's altar. To the left is one of Machen's paintings of the Stations of the Cross, probably the chief treasure of St. Francis de Sales. I'll post on them separately.
The St. Joseph altar. The statue is a real gem, perhaps the best in a church well-stocked with them.

The windows are mostly frosted glass, with stained glass borders and accents.

The ceiling vaults. Highly complex and very Victorian. I just have one complaint. The color used in painting the ribs and the columns is really awful. It detracts from the beauty of a good interior.

Coming Later Today

Interior pictures of St. Francis de Sales and an interesting postcard of the Cathedral.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe

As painted on the side of Sts. Peter and Paul School in the Old South End.

Old Saint Patrick's

Another view to tide you over until I get the rush of the last few weeks under control. It's coming soon. Stay tuned. By the way, notice the dormers on the roof. They're really rather unusual.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

An Interesting Week

I should be able to resume regular posting tomorrow. I have some good material waiting.

Friday, December 1, 2006

St. Patrick's on Avondale

Here we have some of the best stonework in Toledo. I'll be posting more pictures and some comments this weekend.

A Few Useful Links

I'm adding some links to the sidebar today. The heading is "Resources" and more will follow.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Bonus Post

The adoration of the Magi, from the great 15th century illuminated manuscript, the Tres Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry, now at the Musee Conde, at Chantilly.

Saints In The Neighborhood

St. Alphonsus Parish, at Peru, in Huron County, has a great distinction. For a few months in 1841, it's pastor was none other than St. John Neumann, later Bishop of Philadelphia. For more information about the life of this great man, click HERE .

A Busy Week

Things are rather hectic, but they should settle down enough for me to get back on a regular schedule of posts by next week.

A Request For Information

The pulpit of Immaculate Conception Church in the Old South End. The pulpit, three altars, and communion rail, of Cararra marble, were made at Pietrasanta, Italy in the late 1920's. They were designed, as part of the interior and exterior modifications to the church made after the fire of 1920, by Toledo architect Joseph C. Huber, Jr. Mr Huber also designed St. Stephen's in East Toledo. He died in Indiana in 1954. If anyone has any information on Mr. Huber and his work it would be a great help to my research. Please contact me at

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Please Bear With Me

I've had some good news today that has me in too good a mood to think clearly. I'll catch up when the euphoria wears off.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Always Look Up

You never know what you might see. This placid looking gargoyle and well-carved foliage are near the main entrance to St. Patrick's Church on Avondale.

Delays, Delays.

I'll have to catch up tomorrow. There's just too much going on today.

Darby Homecoming

The annual Darby Homecoming Mass will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church in the Old South End, on Sunday, December 3 at 3:00PM. Bishop Blair will officiate. A reception will follow. For those who aren't familiar with the term, the Immaculate Conception Parish has been known as "Old Darby" and its school as "Darby College" for many years. No one is quite sure why.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Coming On Monday

A few interesting links, a saint in the neighborhood, and more pictures.

St. Francis de Sales

Toledo's first cathedral, from 1910 to 1940. St Francis de Sales was completed in 1869 from plans by Patrick Keely of New York. Keely designed more than four hundred churches in his career. Though the parish is closed, St. Francis de Sales is used as a chapel for the Downtown business district, offering weekday Masses at 12:15 PM. Don't let the simple exterior fool you, the interior is incredible. I'll post more about it as time goes on.

An Interesting Thought

I was reminded of an old question this morning. If you were arrested for being a Catholic,( there's been more danger of that happening in the last century than ever before ) would there be enough evidence to convict you? Think about it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos

I attended the Thanksgiving Day Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul, in the Old South End. Very impressive interior. I'll post on it later but I wanted to mention one particularly interesting feature. In the vestibule is an obviously old, obviously highly-respected statue of Our Lady. It was brought from Mexico many years ago and is surrounded by small metal "milagros." A milagro is an ex voto offering given in gratitude for an answered prayer. They're often in a shape recalling the request, a figure of a leg for a healed knee problem, for example. The figure of Our Lady is a replica of one of the most venerated images of Our Lady in Mexico.
Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos was brought to a village in Jalisco by Father Juan de Bologna, in 1542. The image stands about twenty inches tall and is made in a manner common to the Tarascans of neighboring Michoacan. Corn pith and orchid juice is blended and molded over a frame of cane or wood. Then a layer of gesso is applied and the figure is painted. At some time in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, a wide flaring frame was added to dress the figure. The crown and the crescent moon at her feet date from the same time.
The image was venerated from an early date. According to the story, Our Lady's intercession saved the life of an Indian girl who was either close to death or already dead. In a very short time San Juan de los Lagos had become a popular destination for pilgrims. The present church was built in 1732, and was made a basilica by Pius XII. For more information about the veneration of Our Lady in this guise, click HERE.
Though little noticed, Toledo's image of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, Our Lady of San Juan of the Lakes, is worthy of respect and reverence. Perhaps all of us should pay her a visit.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Note Of Honor And Thanks

To all the people of the Diocese, past and present, who gave their time, their talents, and their hard-earned money to build, furnish, and maintain our beautiful churches. May God honor their sacrifice and reward their faithfulness.

Stay Tuned

Later in the week, I'll be posting more pictures, particularly some of St. Francis de Sales, on Cherry Street, Toledo's first cathedral, of St. Patrick's on Avondale, and of St. Joseph's in the Vistula Historic District. We'll also have a series on saints and potential saints with ties to Ohio. I'm working on a list of links to internet sites that will be useful to us, especially parish websites. ( every parish should have one. ) Feel free to e-mail pictures of your parish and any suggestions or comments. We'll also have occasional posts on churches in Toledo, Spain, and in Toledo's sister cities around the world.

Immaculate Conception

I'm particularly proud of this one, since it happens to be my parish. What you see is the product of forty years of work by three architects. The church was built, in 1897, to a design by E. O. Fallis, the designer of the Valentine Theater and one of Toledo's most prominent architects. The roof was lowered by a full twenty feet after a disastrous fire in 1920. Joseph C. Huber was responsible for the modifications and work on the interior. Finally, in 1938, Wilfred Holtzman added the caps to the towers, with a lot of input from Monsignor Sawkins, the pastor. The rose window was added in 1928 and involved adding 35 tons of stonework to the existing wall, a good feat of engineering. The wrought iron cross on top of the blind arcade is notable, as is the flamboyant tracery of the transom windows. I'm working on a guide to the building and its interior, so you'll be hearing a lot about this parish in the future.

Sts. Peter and Paul

The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, on South Erie Street, in the Old South End. This one's a gem. The cornerstone was laid on August 24, 1873 and it was dedicated on December 12, 1875. The spire was added in 1880. This is interesting in itself. Toledo isn't very successful with spires. They're usually never built or end up burning. Sts. Peter and Paul was designed by Toledo architect Carl Schon, who also designed the building occupied by Rensch's, on Monroe Street. I'll post a close-up of the entrance some other time. They're stone arches with simple, but pleasing Romanesque details. The corbelled brickwork at the top and on the tower is also worth a closer look. Another good detail is the large window in the tower. We're fortunate in the fact that very few changes have been made to the exterior. The only one I'm aware of is the removal of a the removal of a wooden band below the dormers on the spire.
The rectory, at the left, was built in 1867 and once had a widow's walk on the roof. I'll be attending a Thanksgiving Mass here tomorrow, so I'll try to comment on the interior later in the week.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mission Statement

This blog will be dedicated to presenting short historical research, photographs, and discussion regarding the churches of the diocese and related buildings. From time to time, short posts will present other information about Catholic history in northwest Ohio and generally try to increase interest in the heritage of each parish. My time and mobility are limited, so if you have a contribution, either of photographs or information about your parish, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll post any pertinant contribution gladly, and with attribution. My e-mail address is Check back later in the week for some pictures of churches in Toledo's Old South End and the first of a series about saints, and potential saints, in the area. Stay tuned.

Hail, Holy Queen

This blog is dedicated to and under the patronage of Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

Saturday, November 18, 2006