Papal prie dieu


This is the prie dieu that Pope St John Paul II used in 1979 during his stay at the Irish Papal Nunciature on the Navan Road, Dublin, Ireland.  The prie dieu is in the sacristy of Our Lady Help of Christians’ parish which is right next door to the Papal Nuncio’s residence.  Pope St John Paul II is said to have paid a discreet visit to Our Lady Help of Christians for private adoration.  The prie dieu was gifted to the parish in 1982.

Pope St John Paul II, pray for us

Oldest Catholic seminary in the USA

St Marys seminary

There’s plenty of oak to be seen in St Mary’s Chapel pristine sacristy.  It’s the main sacristy of the Chapel of St Mary’s Seminary and University, which is dedicated to Mary’s Presentation in the Temple, the patronal feast of the Society of St Sulpice.  St Mary’s, in Baltimore, Maryland, is the oldest Catholic seminary in the USA.

St Mary’s Seminary and University  was established by the Sulpician Fathers in 1791.  Sulpicians are diocesan priests dedicated to priestly formation and seminary work.  They were founded by Jean-Jacques Olier at the parish of Saint-Sulpice in Paris in 1641.  For more about the Sulpician order in the USA, visit the Sulpician website.

Patron saint of surgeons, brewers and butchers

st luke

Luke the Evangelist, by Donatello (1386-1466).  Polychrome stucco, 1428-43, in the Old Sacristy, Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy.

St Luke is a patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students, brewers and butchers, amongst others.  Patron saint of surgeons, brewers and butchers?  Is that an amusing combination to anyone else or am I just being mischievous?

St Luke, Evangelist, pray for us

San Juan de Tarouca

san juan tarouca

The sacristy of the Cistercian San Juan de Tarouca Monastery, in Tarouca, Portugal.   There’s some great looking furniture, particularly the sacristy press that covers the length of the sacristy and depicts the life of St Bernard.

Monastery of Tarouca

It’s a typical Portuguese sacristy with all the walls covered in traditional blue and white Portuguese tiles.  A ceiling covered with frescoes too.

san juan tarouca 2

A detailed look at the frescoes.

Bishop’s Entrance

bishops door

We had a Confirmation Mass this evening.  A bishop, three priests of the parish and a deacon, half a dozen altar servers, about thirty young people being Confirmed with their Sponsors, families and friends all in attendance.  No pictures of the church in all its loveliness though as I seemed to be running a bit late all evening.  I think it was something to do with forgetting to buy a lemon for the bishop to clean the Chrism oil from his fingers after he anointed the young people.  I had to dash to the local supermarket before Mass.  In the rain.

I like this picture above though.  It’s known as the “Bishop’s Entrance”.  Why?  It has handles shaped like a bishop’s crozier.  Great idea.  It’s official name is St Ursula’s Porch and it’s an entrance to Guildford Cathedral, in Guildford, Surrey, UK.

1840 Shingle Spit Road

holy cross church 1

Holy Cross Catholic Church is on Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada.  The island is 11.57 square miles with a population of 958 (as at 2011 census).  Blue sky, trees, and surrounded by grass.  What a great setting.  The door on the right is the door to the sacristy.

holy cross church 3

The entrance to the church which is at 1840 Shingle Spit Road.  I wonder how many people can squeeze in there for Mass?

holy cross church 2

A great feature of the church is the ‘detached’ loo.  How many churches have detached toilets?  We don’t.

Hornby Island

The very appealing Hornby Island as seen from the Hornby-Denman ferry.

Catholics know how to do candles


Catholics know how to do candles.  I took this picture of these beauties in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Holy Land.  Some of them must be 15 feet high.  The candlesticks sit just outside the Tomb of Christ which is the focal point of the church, the holiest of holies.

The tomb (sepulchre) is enclosed in a stone edicule.  The candlesticks flank the entrance to the tomb, the fourteenth Station of the Cross, where Jesus lay buried for three days, and where he rose from the dead.

edicule 2

A picture with people in it gives some idea of the size of the candlesticks.

What crossed my mind when I saw them?  They reminded me to check our candle stocks in the sacristy when I got home.

Hail Mary, full of grace

our lady of the rosary crucifix

A late 16th century Spanish crucifix sits in the sacristy of Our Lady of the Rosary Church Limerick, Ireland.

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us

A steep stairway leads to Calvary

We were lucky enough to be able to celebrate Mass at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  One of the great places to have Mass.


A steep stairway leads to Calvary which is shared between Catholics and Greek Orthodox.  The Catholic Franciscan Chapel, where we had Mass, is on the right of the picture.  The altar is dedicated to the Nailing of the Cross (the 11th Station of the Cross).

The Greek Orthodox Calvary (in the centre of the picture) contains the Rock of Calvary (the 12th Station of the Cross).  The rock can be seen under glass on both sides of the altar.  Underneath the altar itself, where the cross was raised, there is a small opening in the glass.  We were able to touch the rock and say a prayer there before Mass.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 3

It was busy in the sacristy beforehand.  Chasubles and stoles laid out.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 2

Chalices piling up.  At 7.30am ours was to be the the last Mass of the day at Calvary.  The first was at 5am and each Mass has a 30 minute ‘slot’, so no singing and a very concise homily were the order of the day.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 1

The chasuble, chalice and ‘missal’ for our Mass.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 4

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 5

Pope Francis looking on.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross 7

Calvary.  And an altar cloth with a crown of thorns and three nails.

‘In Front of the Sacristy of the Convent of St Francis in Mexico City’

St Francis in Mexico picture

‘Anti Sacristia del Convento de Sn Francisco de Mexico’ (In front of the Sacristy of the Convent of St Francis in Mexico City).

A lithograph by the Mexican, Hesiquio Iriarte (1842-1892), following another talented Mexican, Eugenio Landesio.  Dimensions 13.9 x 19.4 cm (image); 23.6 x 29.7 cm (sheet).  More of Hesiquio Iriarte’s art is at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

St Francis of Assisi, pray for us

Angel of God, my Guardian dear

“The dignity of a soul is so great, that each has a Guardian Angel from its birth.”  (St Jerome)

On the feast day of the Guardian Angels, a stained glass window dedicated in honour of our Guardian Angels in the sacristy of St Thomas Aquinas Church, in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

Guardian Angel 2

“Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.  Amen.”



Capernaum is great.  On the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, it’s the town where Jesus taught in the synagogue.  Brilliant.

capernaum 6

The church at Capernaum is quite odd.  Built in 1990, the Church of St Peter in Capernaum repeats the octagonal shape of the previous 5th century church on the same site.  Held up by eight pillars, the church hovers over an excavation site believed to have been the site of Peter’s house where Jesus would have stayed.  Nothing too odd so far.


Given that the church was built in 1990, it’s the sacristy that’s odd.  Odd in the sense that there isn’t one.  I suppose the question is “When is a sacristy not a sacristy?”

Capernaum 4

And I suppose the answer is “When it’s a clothes rail just off the sanctuary.”

Capernaum 2

Oh, and it’s got a couple of pew seat storage type things.

I’ve been trying to work it out.  And I have to put it down to the heat.  The day we were there it was 44.5 degrees Celsius.  That’s hot.  Too hot to think.  Maybe the sacristy was in the planning, design and drawings of of the church.  But maybe the day the church was built it was hot.  Too hot.  Maybe hotter than 44.5 degrees Celsius.  What else could it be?