Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Old St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Wisconsin Dells, A Last Inside Look

St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, the Wisconsin Dells lone parish, closed its 1902 church building with a final Mass and "Roots in Faith" party on Sunday, May 17th. I wasn't able to catch the final Mass which filled the church and forced overflow seating space outside the building. However, I did get to spend a few hours the weekend before walking about the church and capturing the soon-departed scenery.

I had visited the church on one other occasion, and what stuck me the most on that visit was the high altar. Modest in its proportions, the altar is sharp in its detail and, common throughout the church that day, remarkably clean for a building that was soon to be emptied. The scene of the Last Supper is more prominent here than on many altars I've seen, situated at eye-level.

Detail from the high altar.

At the foot of the Cross, high altar detail.

With distinguishing features like this high altar, it is worthy to note that the general plans for the new church building call for many of the old decorative elements to either be included in the new church or for their replacements to be largely inspired by these originals.

The more modern altar is no slouch in appearance either. It was still the Easter season when I visited, so the seasonal flower display quickly caught the visitor's eye.

Lamb of God, detail from the altar.

Detail from the communion rail.

Left: Side altar devoted to St. Joseph with the tabernacle.
Right: Side altar featuring St. Mary fronted by the baptismal font.

"Jesus I trust in you"

Depiction of the Image of the Divine Mercy, the original of which came into being through the appearance of Jesus Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun [1]. St. Cecilia Catholic Church, and the Dells in general represent a small, but significant center for Polish heritage. Polka festivals are an annual occurrence in town to this day.

Sacred Heart of Jesus statue.

Tabernacle lamp.

St. Cecilia, patron of the church. An early martyr for Christianity, she is also considered a patron saint of religious music. Many St. Cecilia statues feature her carrying a small organ or other instrument.

"Domum dei Decet Sacntitudo." (Latin for"The House of God Holiness.")
"St. Caecilia's Church 1902" (Caecilia is Latin for Cecilia)

While suffering from structural problems over a century after being built, the old St. Cecilia Church building still looked admirable as its closing approached.

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

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1 comment:

  1. As stunning as modern churches are today, you don’t get this same feeling of awe and inspiration as you do from these old, glorious churches from the past. It must have been breathtaking to be inside this amazing church. Your pictures are truly astounding but I’m sure it is even from amazing in real-life.