Friday, 30 May 2008

Facade of the Rosary Basilica

The Rosary Basilica at Lourdes has been subject to a lot of restoration work in recent years. This has involved cleaning the mosaics showing the mysteries of the Rosary on the inside of the Basilica, and to very good effect. The crown on the outside of the Basilica has also been cleaned (it spent a year on the ground in front of what is now the Chapel of Reconciliation while this work was undertaken). However, Pope John Paul II introduced five new mysteries to the Rosary, the Mysteries of Light. So where could we put these mysteries in the Rosary Basilica?

The answer has been to put them on the outside, on the facade at the front of the Basilica. The mosaics were unveiled at the celebration that started the Anniversary year on 8th December 2007. The mosiacs show up very well in daylight as well as under lighting for the Rosary procession in the evenings.

First of all, an overall view, which shows how the cleaning of the crown goes along with the new mosaics:

The first Mystery of Light, the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan:

The second Mystery of Light is the Wedding Feast of Cana. I particularly like the way in which Jesus and Mary, on the right, are portrayed as if they are another "couple", suggesting the relationship between Mary-Church and Jesus as being a nuptial relationship.

The third Mystery of Light is the Preaching of the Kingdom and the Call to Repentance, portrayed in two mosaics. The first shows Jesus appearing to the Apostles on the evening of Easter Day, and giving them the power to forgive sins. The second shows the lowering of the paralytic through the roof of the house; after curing the paralytic, Jesus forgives his sins.

The fourth Mystery of Light is the Transfiguration:

The fifth Mystery of Light is the Institution of the Eucharist, again shown in two mosaics.

No comments: