CREATION WINDOWS – Cathedral Cairns

Embracing local holidays in Queensland recently, I found myself in St Monica’s Cathedral in Cairns for the first time in over twenty-five years.  I was at last able to behold the magnificent creation windows made in the second half of the 1990s by Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn.  There are twelve windows on each side of the nave, each one measuring 6.5 metres by 1.6 metres.  They are a monumental presentation of the Genesis story of the creation of the world, and include many scientific elements in the design together with frequent visual references to the Cairns topography, flora and fauna.  They create a dynamic context for liturgy which is both cosmic and local.

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Working Together

The Art and Architecture Committee of Sacred Heart Parish, Sandringham.

Sandringham parish is in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.  Rev Dr Frank O’Loughlin was parish priest for over two decades (1996-2020).  During that time the fabric of the 1974 church building has been transformed and the church has been enriched with beautiful new art, while carefully preserving the stained glass heritage from the first church opened in 1906. Continue reading “Working Together”

Philip Cooper Sculptor

The Power of Touch

Born in Melbourne, Philip has studied extensively in Theology and Fine Art.  He holds several Post Graduate degrees culminating in his PhD exhibition in Sculpture and Drawing at Monash University, 2015.  During 30 years of art-making he has been presented in a range of solo and group exhibitions, nationally and internationally.  Philip continues lecturing in Drawing and Sculpture at tertiary Art Schools in Melbourne.  His studio is based in Woodend, Victoria, where he lives with his wife and children. 

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Holy Communion

Rite and Vessels

The form of communion vessels reveals something of our ritual practice.  Conversely, change in the way we receive communion necessitates change in the kind of vessels we use.  The small chalice and paten used so frequently over recent centuries are designed exclusively for the priest’s communion.  Early communion vessels give us a glimpse of a differently organised communion rite in which everyone drank from a common cup and received part of the broken bread. These vessels carry a different understanding and liturgical theology. Continue reading “Holy Communion”

An Unexpected Heritage Treasure: The Chasuble

My PhD research project at the University of Canberra, Treasured Threads: Ecclesiastical Textiles as Living Heritage of the Catholic Church in Australia (2019), grew out of my BA (Hons) dissertation which was inspired by three fragments of historical ecclesiastical embroidery salvaged from old, worn and damaged vestments made obsolete following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.  Vatican II reduced the number and type of ecclesiastical garments worn by clerics and simplified vestment design.  As a result, a large amount of ecclesiastical textile heritage was removed from service.  Visiting heritage textile collections and speaking with custodians has uncovered a diverse and unexpected web of community and personal significance and values that connect this living textile heritage to a broader web of local, national and international history and ongoing cultural life. Continue reading “An Unexpected Heritage Treasure: The Chasuble”

Glass and St Bede’s

In the same way that churches have been built by Christians for two millennia, the small stone church in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, dedicated to St Bede the Venerable, was built by the hands of its parishioners. Much of the sandstone used to build the early buildings of Sydney was quarried in Pyrmont, the same stone that the parishioners cut from the site, shaped and laid to build St Bede’s. They completed the building in 1867 providing for a congregation of about 120 to gather for Mass. Continue reading “Glass and St Bede’s”

Flynn Silver Communion Vessels

St Francis’ Church, Lonsdsale St, Melbourne

In 1978, the two brothers, Dan Flynn BArch and John Flynn BSc, followed their father, also Dan Flynn, as silversmiths in a family business based in Kyneton, central Victoria.  Their extensive array of ecclesiastical work began in 1947 when their father designed a chalice for his brother Leo, a Jesuit, to use at his ordination. Continue reading “Flynn Silver Communion Vessels”

Ernst Fries (1934-2020)

Victorian sculptor Ernst Fries is known for his monumental works in stainless steel and granite, glass and concrete.  He was born in Würzburg, Germany, and after a difficult childhood during World War II, studied gold and silver-smithing in Switzerland.  He came to Australia in 1959.  He settled in the Yarra Valley in 1986 where the landscape inspired him to explore themes of rebirth and new life in the elegant clean lines of his modern sculpture.  With work in gallery collections in Australia and overseas, he has received many commissions for public sculpture, for example, in 2013, the glass and concrete panels of the Yarra Glen Black Saturday Memorial. Continue reading “Ernst Fries (1934-2020)”