A Tale of Two Restorations: The Sagrada Familia and St. Patrick’s Soho Square

Since The Courtier had to be in court this morning – natch – today’s blog post is a bit late.  It will also of necessity be brief, since he is meeting a certain British painter this afternoon for farewell drinks. He did however want to draw your attention to the restoration of two structures for which he holds a particular level of affection.

As you know, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was recently attacked by a mentally deranged person, who set fire to the sacristy, located in the crypt.  Repairs are underway and authorities hope to have the crypt church reopened by the end of the month.  Apparently the fire burned so hot that when firemen turned their hoses on the stone walls of the sacristy some of the surface stones exploded from being super-heated and then hit with cold water.  However, the occasion of needing to make these repairs has allowed the architects to address some other latent problems in the crypt, and to do some restoration work on the carved ceiling bosses and the main altar as well.

Meantime last evening the Archdiocese of Westminster celebrated the renovation and re-opening of historic St. Patrick’s church on Soho Square in London, after 14 months of work, with a mass celebrated by Archbishop Nichols.  The Courtier attended daily mass there on many occasions when he lived/studied in the West End, and at the time this grand, Neo-Baroque building was in rather a sad state: faded, dismal and dark, with cracked and peeling paint.  Now, as you can see in this photo gallery of yesterday’s re-dedication of the church, the space is bright and glorious once again, and tonight George Weigel will be giving a lecture there on “Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the West”.

It is wonderful to see all the love and care going into the restoration of these Houses of God!

Archbishop Nichols at last evening’s re-dedication mass.


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