Tag Archives: jerome

The Story of the Infant Jesus Of Prague

This is the statue of the Infant of Prague in the Holy Family Church of Jerome, Arizona.   The statue rests in the corner of the confessional room in the Church of the Holy Family.  It is the only statue in that room and faces the confessional booths.   The history of the Infant Jesus of Prague is a fascinating example of the mysterious stories found so often when dealing with the stories of Catholic saints.

 

The story of the original statue of the Infant Jesus Of Prague is historically thought to begin with a small statue of the Holy Child holding a bird in the right hand around the early 1340s A.D.  Some historians believe that the statue arrived in Prague in the early 1600s when an aristocrat gave the statue to the Carmelite order in 1628.

 

The Carmelites enshrined the statue at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Prague.  However, trouble began soon after its arrival.  Shortly after 1628 a series of invasions involving Saxon and Swedish armies placed the city under the control of anti-Catholic protestant forces.  Veneration of the statue ceased.

 

It wasn’t until 10 years later that a Father Cyril arrived at the remains of the church and found the statue of the Infant of Prague in a pile of rubble behind the altar.  He discovered that, in the looting of the church, the statue sustained damage to its right hand.

 

Nonetheless, he placed it in the proper placement for veneration once again.  He wanted to repair the statue but had neither the funds nor the skills to see the job completed.  So he decided to pray for guidance and while praying he experienced a religious vision.  He received instructions to place the statue at the entrance to the church and 2 days later an unknown man arrived at the church and repaired the statue for free.

 

Soon after the miracle, construction of a chapel began and the story of the Infant of Prague spread.  Many rich aristocratic families gave gifts to the statue as offerings of thanking.  These included 2 rings for his repaired right hand, a glass case with golden angels, sets of fine clothing for the statue, and finally even a crown placed on his head.

 

Since that time,  veneration of the statue continues to spread to all areas of the world.  The Infant is the patron of good finances, health, family and pregnant women.  Many churches, schools, and religious institutions now exist in the name of the Infant Jesus and the statues veneration as a holy relic continues to this day.

I used this site EWTN for historical references

Here are some examples of prayers offered to the Infant Jesus of Prague every day:

Catholic Online:

EWTN: Prayers:

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Even The Lights are Artistic!

 

Church Light is another example of the fine architecture and decorations found in the Holy Family Catholic Church.  The church remains a symbol of the past in both its design and traditional construction.  Sitting in the mining ghost town Jerome deep in the Arizona desert, the church continues to offer a place for the faithful and adventure seeker to rest for a while.

 

While the altar and reredos seek to stimulate the visitors eye, the ceiling with its ornate tile and hanging chandeliers also beautify the interior.  The charm of the electric candles used to simulate the candles that an ancient church would have blends the old traditions with a more modern approach.

 

The cross hanging from the bottom of the light appears to be of marble and exalts the religious significance of the chandelier. The surprising element, however, is the Christian iconography on the frosted glass.  It appears faded and worn through decades of use and is very difficult to see without the lamp being lit.

 

Overall, Church Light is a stunning example of historic interior design work still showcasing what the original designers intended.  The painted white tiles with their intricate design functions well with the tan or khaki colored interior walls.  The color of the candles matches artistically with the walls and the ornate silver and green structure of the chandelier emphasizes the ceiling.

 

A church or temple is historically designed and decorated to emphasize the sacred space and give glory to the divine. This holds true no matter what religion or denomination you might discuss.   Every aspect of a place of worship is traditionally designed to present this idea to the common worshiper in a way that is understandable to that worshiper’s culture.  The Holy Family Catholic Church of Jerome is no exception.  The church does this with an elegance and historical style that reflects the cultural background and technology of when it was active.

 

While the lights in Church Light, may not light the way for throngs of the faithful as it used to, it still showcases a beautiful reflection of religious historical art and makes a stunning addition to any collection.

 

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Historic Altar Breaks Rules of Photography

 

Old buildings are fascinating.  Buildings constructed before the use of modern-day computers and cranes capable of lifting tons of steel and concrete are just as complex as their modern-day counterparts.  What makes them this way?  Everything had to be done by hand.

In Jerome, Arizona rests the Holy Family Catholic Church.  This building is an example of late 19th century American western construction.  The building, constructed in 1894, served as the Catholic Church for the Jerome area.  Jerome was a copper mining town of the American Wild West.  Once the mining boom disappeared so did most of Jerome.

The building is still open everyday for people to offer prayers, but the dwindling population of Jerome means that the church is no longer used for weekly mass.  This allowed me the opportunity to get inside to take some incredible shots of this beautiful old church.

When looking at old buildings you often discover that the flooring is uneven. Sometimes, this is due to an unskilled worker making mistakes during its construction.  After all in the historic American West you didn’t always have a trained carpenter or stone mason available to do the job the right way.  More commonly though, the settling of the foundation due to the weight of the building over so many decades is a much more likely scenario.

The result is the picture Altar.  You can see that the front pews and the railings, where holy communion used to be given, are straight.  In photography, you want straight horizons.  Your eyes and brain rebel when a horizon or back line is at a tilt. It gives a photograph an unpleasant effect.  Professional photographers tell you to always use a tripod to avoid this problem.  However, a tripod won’t help you here.

As your eye drifts up towards the Altar and the tabernacle, you will begin to notice something wrong.  It’s very subtle at first, but as your continue to look into the reredos behind the altar and then eventually to the ceiling you notice the wall, ceiling and even the floor are uneven.  In fact, it gets worse as your gaze lifts towards the ceiling.

So, we break the straight horizon rule of photography to dramatic effect.  This slant adds the personal character of the old church to an otherwise ordinary picture of a historic altar.  The settling of the old building indeed commands our attention to the finer details and the value of manual craftsmanship found in these old churches.

I think Altar makes a perfect Christmas card.  All printed Christmas cards arrive in a 5×8 inch format with a UV layer added to prevent fading.   You can even have a personal message printed on the inside.

When printed in a larger format it makes an ideal gift to a relative or family priest.

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