Sunday, January 2, 2011

Basilica of Saint Joseph - San Jose, California

The construction of the fifth and final cathedral began on the 22 of April, 1877, after a long history of earthquakes and fires striking the Bay Area.  I am sure this is one of my first times visiting a Basilica in my lifetime, but I am sure that it will not be the last!  When I breached the doorway into this ornate sanctuary, I was in awe.

The dome of the Basilica was completed in 1885, with a stained glass sunlight that was made in Bavaria, Germany, is surrounded by murals of eight saints which were done by an Italian immigrant Father Luigi Sciocchetti in 1928.

I am well aware of my odd obsession with the pipe organ, but this one I would say has topped them all of which I have seen.  I read upon on the history of this Basilica and discovered that the Odell Pipe organ was installed in 1886 after being custom made and designed in New York and remains one of four of it's kind within the United States.  This organ is a 16-foot, two manual pipe organ with 1,521 pipes!

In 1981, the Cathedral was inaugurated as the Diocese of San Jose and in 1985, the Vatican approved the Diocese, then in 1997 Saint Joseph received the title of a Minor Basilica.

Serving over 600,000 Catholics in the San Jose-Santa area, the Basilica holds Mass in both English and Spanish. 

A view from top to bottom.

Restoration projects have kept the timelessness of pieces of work suchas this Station of the Altar in
pristine condition for over a century now.

Five Wounds Church - San Jose, California

Igreja Nacional Portuguesa das Cinco Chargas, or the Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, is an important symbol of the Portuguese Community in the Santa Clara Valley. 

Each time that I made my way to San Jose, I had always admired this beautiful structure, and finally had some spare time to go with a friend and visit, and her and I are sure glad we did!

The history behind this church is fascinating! 
The Parish was dedicated by Father Henrique Ribeiro on November 8, 1914, and with only volunteer help of the community, was this church built.  It was after the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Fransisco closed was it that the community brought the timbers of the Portuguese Pavilion along the historic El Camino Real, or Royal Highway, that were used to built the framework of this landmark to the Portuguese People of the Bay Area.

Another fact that I found quite unique about this church was that it holds services not only in English and Portuguese, but also in Latin.

The cornerstone of the Church was laid on October, 1, 1916 as a community effort to provide not only a place of worship and prayer but also as a school for local children and a community center.

It was not hard to be taken aback by the beauty of the Church itself, but while it was adorned with Christmas decorations amidst the soft blue and gold was truly a sight to behold.

The edifice was completed on July 13, 1919, with the unique Manueline style which is specific to Portuguese heritage.