Thursday, May 15


Wisconsin Guadalupe Shrine Nears Completion

While perhaps our gentle readers are growing tired of our bending their collective ears about the wonderful work now reaching its completion at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I trust that this present update will shake them from any ennui.

It is increasingly apparent to me that this new shrine church, commissioned by the now-Archbishop Burke and designed by Duncan Stroik, will be one of the most momentous and prominent new structures of the new traditional and classical movement in ecclesiastical architecture, both in terms of its prominence, the quality of the design, and also the lavishness of the materials and craftmanship that has attended the project.

Recent video coverage (above) of the in-progress shrine also highlighted the marvelous scope of the project, indicating the historic nature of this ambitiously-conceived new shrine. I have received also received number of new images, even more up-to-date than the video, which you see above and below, of the nearly-complete interior and exterior, which is slated for consecration in a few short months, on Thursday, July 31, 2008, as part of the culmination of a week of sacred festivities, including book signings, opportunities for confession, conferences, processions, masses, Vespers, Benediction and a Te Deum. The dedication Mass will be broadcast live on EWTN.

We have discussed some of the design aspects of the project before, but a few further comments. The high quality of the sacristies, narthex and other support spaces is particularly of note (directly above). The organ case was designed by the architect and adapted by the organ company, a particularly significant detail given the somewhat boxy nature of traditional-style organ-cases produced in-house by various firms. The use of silver in the design is also worthy of comment, it being chosen by the decorator in collaboration with the architect as a reflection of Mary's femininity in contrast with the more forceful masculine qualities of gold. The rich varieties and colors of the marble used for the tabernacle, quite unusual for an American church (second from the top), are also worth pausing over.

I hope to post in the near future a brief feature on the elaborate painting scheme conceived for the Shrine by Catholic liturgical artist and sculptor Anthony Visco, as many of the new original artworks have just now been installed and look quite splendid in situ. A notable feature that only adds to the unique importance of the structure in the rebirth of traditional art, the paintings deserve an entire post to themselves to do them justice.

Mr. Stroik's portfolio, and his further work at his equally-ambitious Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity at Thomas Aquinas College in California, also nearing completion, can be found at, and Mr. Visco's website is

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