Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mass at the Basilica you didn't know about...

The Basilica of Saint Lawrence, that is; and I should say, that I didn't know about. Who knew Asheville boasted a minor basilica? I found myself thinking, did the Commodore--who built the famous Biltmore Mansion in Asheville--have anything to do with it? Then I thought, wait, Vanderbilt had to be Protestant, so why would he want a bunch of Papists around? Something to look into another time.

Anyway, I found the Basilica using my usual method: driving around the general area I recall it being in, from memory of what I saw on the Internet. (Maybe someday I'll get a GPS gizmo, but not today.) It is a curious church, in an oval shape--I can't recall seeing that before. The dome is rather large--perhaps the largest free-standing dome anywhere; read about it here. The artwork is of several types: beautiful stained-glass windows and vigorous statues, and then some curious bas-relief (if that's the term) on either side of the altar: they are made of what I assume was molded tile. I'm curious how they were made. I wasn't as fond of these as of the other artwork; and there were some handsome statues in the various alcoves I'd have liked to have seen more closely, as well as many paintings. The side altars were beautiful as well.

I am grateful to the pastor--and the parochial vicar who actually offered the 9 am Mass--for allowing me to concelebrate.

Now off to Virginia!


Jackie said...


I think - based on my memories of my visit to the Biltmore and the Basilica that the same architect that did the large oval room in the Biltmore - I think - long time - it was the 'green house' sort of room in the house - also did the Basilica. So - yes - some connection! But not directed by the baron.

Have fun.

JBourne said...

Mary and I spent our honeymoon in Asheville. The Catholic presence in Asheville was directly related to the Biltmore. Many of the workers that came in to build it were Catholic, and the house was such a large and long project that the church was established there. Whether or not it was originally a Basilica, I cannot say.