The Church Beautiful
"A Medieval jewel in a modern setting..."(George Cardinal Mundelein at the dedication of St. Gregory the Great Church)
All sacred art is, by its very nature, pedagogic. That is to say that its primary purpose is not to decorate or delight but to instruct, and in the case of Christian art it is to instruct in the deeper truths of Jesus Christ, the Word of God.
Gothic Art represents an apogee, a high water mark of sorts in the history of sacred art, in that its language was directly created out of the Age of Faith that was the hallmark of the Middle Ages. Gothic architecture is the exuberant expression of the people of God whose lives are vertical ascents from the temporal to the glorious eternal.
Officially classified as a church in the Norman Gothic style (Norman referring to the French influence on English architecture following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066), St. Gregory's is a direct descendant of the great flowering of churches in the Medieval style that began in the early 19th Century. The movement, called Gothic Revival, began in England as a spiritual/cultural revolt against the Industrial Revolution and embraced not only architecture but art, poetry, literature and music as well. It's proponents included the author Sir Walter Scott, artist and critic John Ruskin, the designer William Morris and the architect A.W.N. Pugin. It was Pugin who truly reinvigorated the nation with the spiritual and the artistic aesthetic of the Middle Ages, and his churches and public buildings (including the Houses of Parliament) stand as some of the finest architecture of the 19th Century.
St. Gregory the Great Church is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and as such acts as a complete spatial instruction in the truths of the Christian faith. Everything, from the paintings and sculptures to the architecture elements itself, not only tells a story but invites deeper into the heart of the mystery that is Christ's Church. The journey into St. Gregory's Church is a journey into life, death and re-birth, from Alpha to Omega, from darkness to light.
Msgr. Michael Klasen, the founding pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church, created a booklet entitled The Church Beautiful in which he explains the symbolism and meaning of the various shrines, stained glass windows, and other liturgical decorations that can be found in our Church. Click on the following link to learn more about our Church Beautiful.