Rorate Caeli

Small town Maryland parish unveils new apse mural at Easter

Many readers will be already familiar with our parish, Saint Francis de Sales, in southern Maryland on the Patuxent River, the traditional Latin Mass having been offered here for nearly two generations, after a hiatus of about 20 years, and now a daily source of spiritual nourishment for the majority of our faithful.

The church, located in the village of Benedict, Maryland, unveiled the work of a parishioner-artist at the Easter vigil this year. The apse wall mural is in part inspired by the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament of the church of Santa Agata in Brescia.

Gold rays and clouds emit from the Paschal Lamb rose window at the roof peak, under which Saint Francis and angels ascend in glory, completed at the base with baroque architectural details of columns and cherubs surrounding the blue and gold classical pediment reredos with crucifix.

The lintel murals above the sacristy doors, also visible in these photos, are adapted from a Borromini carving.

The paired Waterford chandeliers and brass lamps over the sanctuary were recently added, complementing the central brass lamp.

For years now the parish has been restoring the sacred from the plaster walls out and in every detail. Most of the work has been accomplished by the faithful of the parish.

Examples include marbleizing the side altars and main altar gradine, itself constructed and installed by parishioners. The installation of the pine floor, nave chandeliers, and restoration and installation of altar rail gates is our own work as well.

The project is entirely the effort of parishioners who exclusively pray the traditional Latin Mass, while enthusiastically supported by those who attend the missa recentior, demonstrating well that our venerable worship is the irreplaceable seed of Catholic Christian culture. 

For further details on the ongoing restoration of the sacred at Saint Francis de Sales visit the pastor’s blog A Priest Life.