Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ralph Adams Cram's Unfamous Pittsburgh Church

This probably qualifies as a lazy man's posting, as I will refer you to one of my Flickr sets for the bulk of the content. Ralph Adams Cram's Calvary Episcopal and East Liberty Presbyterian are well known in Pittsburgh. Holy Rosary Church (Roman Catholic) is often overlooked. It was omitted from a recent book that purported to list all of Cram's work (however, this book cannot be noted for its careful editing in any case).

Although I had the privilege of worshiping at Holy Rosary, in preparation to teach an Adult Education class, my memory does not afford a comprehensive description. The congregation is predominantly African-American, as was the priest who celebrated the Mass. I arrived with two benign (I hope) stereotypes in mind. I expected the singing to be better and more vigorous than a typical Roman Catholic Church. It was not. I expected the homily to be better preaching than a typical Catholic sermon. It was.

I recall three details of the interior: Clever little fold-down "jump seats" at the end of each pew, presumably for overflow seating. A marvelous deep blue light from the rose window. FOUR confessionals.

Follow the Holy Rosary "set"

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