Monday, September 6, 2010

St. Anthony Catholic Church in Long Beach

Today's mosaic rests on the front of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Long Beach. The parish was founded in 1904, but the first building is long gone. It was a "handsome little church," according to the Los Angeles Times, and seated about 300 people. A priest from nearby Wilmington, Rev. Ramon Ferrar, served the Long Beach community in those early days.

A second, larger church, built in 1913, held double the number people that the first chuch did, and cost $65,000 to build. That church was damaged during the 1933 earthquake, and was replaced with the church that stands today.

THe mosaic was not added until 1954--a Golden Anniversary present to the parish.

The mosaic is actually several mosaics. In the center of the main panel is the Assumption of Mary, mother of Jesus. The apostles gaze at her as she rises into heaven, but there are some modern figures watching too. Pope Pius XII is the man in white with his arms outstretched. Cardinal McIntyre, Bishop Manning, and other church leaders from the LA area are on either side of Mary, above the apostles.

Below them all, right over the church door, is Jesus, and twelve panels below him on either side show the patron saints of twelve other Long Beach parishes that sprouted up in the fifty years after St. Anthony's was established: St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, Holy Innocents, etc.

According to a story in the Times from September 1954,the mosaic is based on a painting by Borgognone in Milan, Italy in the Brera Gallery. The mosaic's artist, sadly, is not credited.


Kathleen said...

I live in LB and saw this beautiful church for the first time today - thanks for the picture - interesting blog - have you been to Hollywood Forever and the Peterson Auto Museum - you might enjoy them

Vix said...

You're so right--Hollywood Forever is an experience to be treasured. Can't wait to see who they're bringing back from the dead for Halloween this year.

Anonymous said...

I loved attending Mass here as a student at St. Anthony's High School, across the street. And singing the "Magnificat' in the choir was a fantastic experience--gorgeous accoustics and a loving audience. Thank you Saint Anthony for all of the favors you have granted all graduates. St. Anthony--PRAY FOR US!