St. Aloysius is another example of a “downtown” Roman Catholic parish, much like St. Peter’s which we just saw back in Chicago. And like St. Peter’s it received an updated building in the Twentieth Century.
Like many churches in Europe, the composition addresses the cramped building site, crammed in between two other buildings, one of which is an archdiocesan office.
Reminiscent of Lombard Romanesque churches I saw in Milan, it is a fascinating example of Twentieth Century ecclesiastic architecture. While the parish dates to 1873, when the diocese bought an old Presbyterian church, the current building dates to 1930.
There are three portals, with wonderful bronze(?) tympanums. The first one shows the crucifixion, with the centurion Longinus, stating, “Indeed this was the son of God,” from Matthew 27:54. The Latin says, “You were sacrificed and your blood redeemed us to God,” from Revelation 5:9.
In the middle portal is God the Father in a mandorla, which is normally where Jesus Christ is depicted in Medieval art.
Around the mandorla the Latin states, “In the beginning, the God created the heaven and the earth,” from Genesis 1:1.
The last portal depicts the Pentecost.
Here the Latin states, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” from Acts 2:4.
The interior is also pretty amazing, too. There are actually three levels, which allow for a relatively large number of people to attend mass inside. A massive gold mosaic, depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd references Paleo-Christian baslicas.
Looking down to the lower church, I actually thought it was reminiscent of the entrances to catacombs in the city of Naples, which I have explored before.
Looking up, there is a large balcony which further increases the capacity of the church. I actually liked the shadowy interior I found inside.
Nearby there are some other interesting buildings that contrast with the soaring Art-Deco skyscrapers that dominate downtown Detroit.
The building above is the Grand Army of the Republic Building, which was built in 1899. The organization was a Civil War veterans’ association, and you see monuments around the country for it.
The Detroit Club is perhaps self-defining in its name. Its building is just spectacular in its composition.