Monday, June 14, 2010

Memories of Mosaics

This week, I took pictures of mosaics in Nativity Catholic Church in Torrance. Why? It's a smallish, old-fashioned looking church, not famous for anything. In fact, I don't even have the name of the artist who created the mosaics.

But this is the parish church I grew up in, and I remember the excitement when the first mosaic was installed back in the 1960s--on a wall that has since been punched out! For years, there were fundraising drives to pay for more mosaics, and weekly announcements about the status of the mosaic savings account.

Since I was visiting the area this past Sunday, I stopped by Nativity. I wanted to see how the mosaics had held up...and, well, they haven't. At least not in Torrance. The mosaics I remember were donated to a poorer parish many years ago.

I learned that when a new pastor comes in, he often redoes the church--if he wants to and if it needs it.

The current pastor of Nativity arrived ten years ago to a church that was stark white. Perhaps his predecessor had a modernist bent--or just disliked ornamentation. I vaguely remember the white on another visit, and it was striking. Funny that church styles can change, much like home decorating trends do. In fact...could there be a TV show here? Design on a Dime becomes Design on a Tithe? or Truly Divine Design?

These mosaics have been added over the last several years--the "loaves and fishes" is a sample of mosaics that line wide archways that visitors now walk through. The big mosaic above is to the left of the altar, overlooking a space I remember as the 'the crying room'--a glassed-in set of 4 or 5 rows of pews where mommies and babies sat during services. Now--glass gone--it houses a separate little altar (there's probably a more technically correct term) where the Eucharist is kept.

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