I scanned the original ten page paper and converted it to an electronic format for inclusion in this web site. If you use any part of it, please credit Fr. Easterly. If time permits, and if there's interest, I may add close up photos of the parts of mural as Fr. Easterly explains it.
EXPLANATION OF THE ART WORK IN ST. RAPHAEL CHAPEL
ST. JOHN VIANNEY COLLEGE SEMINARY
PREPARED BY REVEREND FREDERICK J. EASTERLY, C.M., PH.D.
SPANISH TRANSLATION BY DR. FERMIN F. PEINADO
REVISED EDITION: EASTER - 1984
THE DESIGN OF THE BUILDING IS VERY SIMPLE. IN THE INTERIOR, IT WAS THE INTENTION OF ARCHBISHOP COLEMAN CARROLL TO KEEP AS MANY THINGS AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE SO THAT ALL DEVOTION WOULD BE FOCUSED ON THE EUCHARIST AS THE CENTER OF WORSHIP: BECAUSE THE EUCHARIST IN THE MASS IS THE CENTER OF WORSHIP, THE BUILDING ITSELF BECOMES A FOUNTAIN OF GRACE WHICH IS REPRESENTED BY THE SHAPE OF THE WINGS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING,
IN THE FIRST COURTYARD, ON THE RIGHT, THE MURAL DEPICTS THE STORY OF TOBIAS, AND IN INQUIRING OF MRS. MAYTAG WHY HER PARTICULAR INTEREST IN THE STORY OF TOBIAS, SHE SAID THAT, AS A CONVERT, IT REPRESENTS TO HER THE PROCESS OF CONVERSION; AS TOBIAS IN HIS BLINDNESS WAS LED FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT WHEN THE LAYERS WERE REMOVED FROM HIS EYES IN A SIMILAR WAY THE LAYERS OF IGNORANCE ARE REMOVED FROM THE MIND OF THE PERSON BEING CONVERTED TO A FULLER KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.
THE MURAL IN THE SECOND COURTYARD COMMEMORATES THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL. THE CHAPEL WAS BUILT WHILE THE COUNCIL WAS SESSION. SO THE THEME OF THE COUNCIL IS GIVEN ON THE TOP, "UT UNUM SINT" - SO THAT ALL MAY BE ONE. IN THE CENTER OF THE MURAL IS THE FAMOUS WORK OF ART BY MICHAELANGELO, HIS FIGURE OF ST. PETER, WHICH IS IN ST. PETER'S BASILICA, SURROUNDING THE FIGURE OF ST. PETER ARE FOUR ANGELS HOLDING BANNERS WITH STATEMENTS IN ARABIC, GREEK, LATIN AND HEBREW, SOME OF THE LANGUAGES USED BY THE CHURCH IN THE COURSE OF HER EARLY HISTORY. THE COATS-OF-ARMS OF THE TWO POPES WHO REIGNED DURING THE COURSE OF THE COUNCIL ARE PRESENTED; THAT OF POPE JOHN XXIII IS ON THE LOWER LEFT HAND CORNER AND THAT OF POPE PAUL VI ON THE RIGHT. IN THE UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER IS THE COAT-OF-ARMS OF ARCHBISHOP CARROLL, WHO CONSTRUCTED THE CHAPEL AND WAS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MUCH OF THE MEANING EXPRESSED IN THE CHAPEL'S ART WORK.
IN THE OUTER COURTYARDS ARE THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS. THEY WERE FORGED IN BRONZE IN ROME. WHEN THESE STATIONS FIRST ARRIVED THEY WERE LIGHT IN COLOR, Now, THEY ARE SEASONED AND LOOK LIKE ANTIQUE PIECES OF ART. THE ONE STATION THAT IS OF SPECIAL INTEREST IS THE TWELFTH STATION IN THE GARDEN ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE CHAPEL. STANDING IN THE REAR OF THE STATION ITSELF ARE SEVERAL FIGURES THAT ARE EASILY RECOGNIZABLE, TO THE LEFT STANDS THE FIGURE OF ARCHBISHOP CARROLL IN HIS EPISCOPAL ROBES AND DIRECTLY BEHIND HIM THE FIGURE OF CARDINAL JOHN DEARDEN, WHO WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE AND WHO WAS THE PRINCIPAL CONCELEBRANT AND HOMILIST ON THE OCCASION OF THE DEDICATION OF THE CHAPEL ON JANUARY 16, 1966.
ANOTHER STATION WHICH HAS A RECOGNIZABLE FIGURE IS THE FOURTEENTH. THE STANDING FIGURE AT THE EXTREME RIGHT HAS THE FACIAL EXPRESSION OF MRS. MARY LOUISE MAYTAG, THE BENEFACTRESS OF THIS CHAPEL.
As WAS INDICATED EARLIER, IT WAS THE WISH OF ARCHBISHOP CARROLL THAT THERE BE A MINIMUM OF DECORATION WITHIN THE CHAPEL ITSELF SO AS NOT TO DETRACT FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. THE FEW DECORATIONS THAT ARE PRESENTED ARE THE TAPESTRIES FLANKING THE NAVE, THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS AND THE MURAL OVER THE SANCTUARY.
THE TAPESTRIES ARE HUNG ON THE WALLS OF THE NAVE. ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE IS CHRIST, THE TEACHER. ON EITHER SIDE OF CHRIST ARE ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, THE TEACHERS OF THE EARLY CHURCH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MASTER. ON THE LEFT SIDE IS CHRIST, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, THE MODEL OF THE PRIESTHOOD; AND ON EITHER SIDE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD ARE ST. STEPHEN AND ST, LAWRENCE, THE PATRON SAINTS OF SEMINARIANS, BOTH OF WHOM DIED AS DEACONS.
THERE ARE TWO STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OVERLOOKING THE SANCTUARY. THE ONE ON THE LEFT IS DEDICATED TO MARY, THE MOTHER OF THE CHURCH. THIS WAS THE TITLE GIVEN TO MARY AT THE END OF VATICAN COUNCIL II, DURING WHICH THE CHAPEL WAS CONSTRUCTED. THE WINDOW ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE SANCTUARY IS DEDICATED TO ST. JOHN VIANNEY, THE PATRON SAINT OF THE SEMINARY, AND THE DIOCESAN CLERGY, ST. JOHN VIANNEY IS KNEELING AT THE FEET OF CHRIST PRAYING FOR THE GRACE TO FAITHFULLY LIVE HIS PRIESTLY COMMITMENT,
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS DIRECTLY ABOVE THE TABERNACLE MAY AT FIRST APPEARANCE SEEM TO BE JUST A CONGLOMERATION OF COLORED GLASS, AND YET THERE IS A DEEP MEANING IN THIS ARRANGEMENT. STARTING AT THE CENTER ON THE RIGHT, DIRECTLY ABOVE THE TABERNACLE, AND GOING CLOCKWISE THE
COLORING RESEMBLES THE EARLY MORNING SUNLIGHT. IT IS THE RISING OF THE SUN, AND AS THE WINDOWS PROCEED CLOCKWISE ALONG THE RIGHT WALL, THE COLORS BEGIN TO GET BRIGHTER AND BRIGHTER UNTIL THE POINT DIRECTLY OVER THE FRONT ENTRANCE OF THE CHAPEL WHICH IS THE BRIGHTEST PART OF THE ENTIRE SEGMENT OF THE WINDOWS, REPRESENTING NOONDAY. CONTINUING ON CLOCKWISE, THE COLORING TENDS TOWARD BLUE, THE EVENING COLOR, AND MOVING FROM EVENING INTO NIGHT UNTIL A POINT IS REACHED AGAIN OVER THE CENTER OF THE SANCTUARY WHICH DESIGNATES MIDNIGHT. THE MEANING BEHIND THE COLORING IS THIS, "FROM THE RISING TO THE SETTING OF THE SUN IS THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE PRAISED".
THE CRUCIFIX (WHICH IS NOW USED AS THE PROCESSIONAL CRUCIFIX FOR THE SACRED LITURGY AT THE MAIN SEMINARY CHAPEL)
THE CRUCIFIX NEXT TO THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE IS A GIFT FROM MARY LOUISE MAYTAG TO THE STUDENTS OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY SEMIANRY IN APPRECIATION FOR HAVING DEDICATED THE 1969 YEARBOOK, THE DISCIPLE, IN HER HONOR. SHE SAID THAT THE CRUCIFIX IS FROM SPAIN AND HAD SEEN IT ON ONE OF HER VISITS. SHE LIKED IT SO MUCH THAT SHE BOUGHT IT AND BROUGHT IT BACK TO MIAMI. THE CROSS IS MADE OF PURE SILVER. IT IS INLAID WITH EBONY, AND THE CORPUS IS MADE OF SOLID IVORY. SPRINKLED ON THE UPRIGHT AND THE CROSSBAR ARE GEMS OF PINK CORAL. THE CROSS IS REPRESENTATIVE OF HER APPRECIATION TO THE SEMINARIANS, WHO SHE ADMIRED GREATLY, AS IS TESTIFIED BY THE GENEROUS AND FREQUENT CONTRIBUTIONS SHE MADE TO ST. JOHN VIANNEY SEMINARY.
EXPLANATION OF THE MURAL IN ST. RAPHAEL'S CHAPEL
THE MURAL DIRECTLY ABOVE THE SANCTUARY WAS PAINTED BY GABRIEL LOIRE, A FRENCH ARTIST, DURING THE YEARS 1968 AND 1969. IT WAS DONE IN HIS HOME TOWN IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, THE ENTIRE MURAL IS DONE IN TWENTY-SEVEN SEGMENTS. EACH SEGMENT FOLLOWED A DESIGN FROM AN ORIGINAL CARTOON THAT WAS MADE BY THE ARTIST HIMSELF. WHEN THE MURAL WAS ERECTED, GABRIEL LOIRE CAME TO MIAMI TO SUPERVISE THE ERECTION OF IT. ON THAT OCCASION HE REMARKED, "THIS IS MOST UNUSAL. I PAINTED EVERY INCH OF THAT MURAL, AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I SAW IT TOGETHER AS ONE PIECE OF ART."
THERE ARE MANY IDEAS CONTAINED IN THE MURAL, AND THEY ALL CENTER AROUND THE QUOTATION GIVEN IN THE CENTER OF THE PICTURE, "Go YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE. HE THAT BELIEVES AND IS BAPTISED SHALL BE SAVED." THIS IS CHRIST'S COMMISSION TO HIS PRIEST, SO THE ENTIRE PICTURE CENTERS AROUND THAT COMMISSION GIVEN TO THE PRIEST! TO PREACH THE WORD OF GOD, TO BAPTISE AND TO BRING SALVATION TO THOSE WHOM THEY SERVE. IN ORDER TO EMPHASIZE THE NOTION OF THE WHOLE WORLD, THE ARTIST HAS INCORPORATED THE FIVE CONTINENTS OF THE WORLD. TO THE FAR RIGHT CAN BE SEEN A PORTION OF THE ASIAN COAST AND THE PACIFIC OCEAN. IN THE CENTER PART, JUST ABOVE THE WORDS, "Go YE INTO ALL THE WORLD" IS THE OUTLINE OF THE AFRICAN COAST. FURTHER TO THE SOUTHWEST OF THE PICTURE. THE LEFT HAND SIDE, IS THE OUTLINE OF THE CONTINENT OF ASIA. AND JUST ABOVE THAT, A LITTLE TO THE UPPER LEFT, IS CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE COASTLINE OF THE ATLANTIC AMERICAN COAST. EUROPE IS SEEN ABOVE THE WORDS "Go YE INTO". THUS, ALL FIVE CONTINENTS ARE EMBRACED; TAKING IN THE WHOLD WORLD.
ASSOCIATED WITH THE WORLD AS A WHOLE ARE THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC. IN VERY ANCIENT TIMES, IT WAS THOUGHT THAT THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC DETERMINE THE PHASES OF THE MOON AND THE RISING AND SETTING OF THE SUN.
THEREFORE, THEY GOVERNED THE WHOLE WORLD, SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MURAL ARE ALL TWELVE SIGNS. THE SIGN OF SCORPIO, LIBRA, VIRGO, LEO, CANCER, GEMINI, TAURUS, ARIES, PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN AND SAGITARIUS. AND WHILE THEY ARE LOOKED UPON AS ASTRONOMICAL FIGURES, THEY ARE ALSO LOOKED UPON AS BEING SIGNS OF THE PRIESTHOOD ITSELF.
SCORPIUS CERTAINLY BRINGS OUT THE SCRIPTURAL STATEMENT THAT THEY SHALL TOUCH SCORPIONS AND SNAKES AND SHALL NOT BE HARMED. ON THE LOWER LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE MURAL ARE DISCIPLES HOLDING SNAKES AND SCORPIONS IN THEIR HANDS.) THE SCRIPTURE SAYS THEY SHALL NOT BE HARMED BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MESSENGERS OF GOD. LIBRA IN THE UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER IS REPRESENTED BY A SCALE WHICH DENOTES PRUDENCE; IT IS THE BALANCE OF JUSTICE IN THE WORLD THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THE CLERGY. AND SO IT IS WITH ALL THE OTHER SIGNS, VIRGO REPRESENTS THE CELIBACY OF THE CLERGY; LEO, THE LION, REPRESENTS THE EVANGELIST ST. MARK; GEMINI, THE TWINS, IS REMINISCENT OF ST, THOMAS WHO WAS A TWIN AND BECAME A STRONG BELIEVER; TAURUS, THE BULL, IS THE STRENGTH OF THE PRIESTHOOD; ARIES AND CAPRICORN, THE RAM AND THE GOAT, ARE THE FLOCK THE GOOD SHEPHERD CONFIDED TO HIS SHEPHERDS, AQUARIUS, THE WATER CARRIER, CONNOTES THE IMPORTANT PART THAT WATER PLAYS IN OUR LITURGICAL LIFE, AS IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, IN THE USE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST IN THE MASS. PISCES, THE FISH - THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST SHALL BE FISHERS OF MEN. CANCER AND SAGITARIUS BOTH REFER TO THE SEASON, SIGNIFYING THAT THE WORD OF GOD SHALL BE PREACHED "IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON, AND SO IT IS THAT THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC NOT ONLY INDICATE THE WHOLE WORLD, BUT THEY ALSO PERTAIN TO THE ASPECTS OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.
AS WAS INDICATED EARLIER, CHRIST IS THE FIRST PRIEST, AND SO COMMEMORATED IN THE MURAL ARE THE TWO MYSTERIES SO INTIMATELY ASSOCIATED WITH THE LIFE OF CHRIST - THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY AND THE MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION. IN THE CENTERMOST PART OF THE MURAL AT THE TOP ENCIRCLED ARE THREE FIGURES: THE FIGURE OF GOD THE FATHER HOLDING IN HIS HANDS THE CHURCH OVER WHICH HE RULES; THE FIGURE ON THE RIGHT IS THE SON OF GOD HOLDING THE CROSS WHICH IS THE SIGN OF MAN I S REDEMPTION; AND IN THE CENTER IS THE FIGURE OF THE DOVE, THE HOLY SPIRIT, EMITING THE SPIRIT OF GOD INTO THE CHURCH AND INTO THE MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH. 'TO THE SIDES OF THE TRINITY THERE ARE TWO LINES CONVERGING JUST BELOW THE KNEES OF THE FIGURE OF CHRIST. THIS REPRESENTS THE FUNNELING OF DIVINE GRACE THROUGH CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, WHO HAD COME INTO THE WORLD THROUGH THE INCARNATION. THROUGH THAT FIGURE OF CHRIST, WITH THE CHI-RO ON HIS GARMENTS, IT IS THE MEANS WHEREBY THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST WILL BE CARRIED OUT INTO THE WORLD,
Christ and the Eleven
AGAIN, THE WORLD IS REPRESENTED IN THE MURAL NOT BY A SOLID SPHERE BUT IN TWO SEPARATE SEGMENTS. THE FIRST SEGMENT BEGINS IN THE UPPER LEFT-HAND CORNER AND COMES DOWN COUNTER-CLOCKWISE UNDERNEATH THE FIGURE OF CHRIST AND THEN RISES UP TO THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER. THIS IS THE LOWER PART OF THE SPHERE OF THE WORLD. THE UPPER PART OF THE SPHERE STARTS AT THE LOWER LEFT-HAND CORNER, RISES UP TO THE MIDDLE OF THE FIGURE OF CHRIST, AND THEN STARTS DESCENDING TO THE LOWER RIGHT-HAND CORNER. THE UPPER PART OF THAT LOWER SPHERE FORMS THE TABLE OF THE LAST SUPPER, AND ABOUT ONE FOOT BELOW THAT LINE IS ANOTHER LINE DESIGNATING THE OUTLINE OF THE TABLE WITH CUPS, THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE MEAL, SITTING UPON THE TABLE. AROUND THE TABLE ARE THE ELEVEN FIGURES OF THE FIRST APOSTLES; PRESUMABLY JUDAS HAS ALREADY LEFT THE SCENE SINCE THERE ARE ONLY ELEVEN DEPICTED THERE.
THE WORK OF THE PRIESTHOOD IS TO BRING THE SALVATION OF THE SON OF GOD INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND THIS IS DONE THROUGH THE WORDS OF CHRIST, "I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ORPHANS, I WILL COME TO YOU." HE COMES TO US PRINCIPALLY THROUGH THE SACRAMENTS HE HAS LEFT US, AND ALL SEVEN SACRAMENTS ARE COMMEMORATED IN THE MURAL. STARTING ON THE LOWER LEFT-HAND CORNER, THERE IS A FIGURE OF A PERSON BEING BAPTIZED. THE FIGURE STANDING OVER THE CONVERT, OR THE PERSON TO BE BAPTIZED, IS THE FIGURE OF CHRIST, AND UPON CLOSE OBSERVATION THE FACIAL RESEMBLANCE OF THE PERSON BEING BAPTIZED IS THAT OF MRS. MARY LOUISE MAYTAG.
MOVING OVER TO THE LOWER RIGHT-HAND SIDE, IN THE MIDDLE PANEL, THREE FROM THE RIGHT, THERE ARE THREE FIGURES WITH THEIR HANDS RAISED IN BLESSING. THESE THREE FIGURES REPRESENT THE PREACHING MINISTRY OF THE PRIESTHOOD. TO THE RIGHT OF THEM AND ALITTLE BIT LOWER IS A FIGURE WITH THE HAND RAISED OVER THE FIGURE OF SATAN, AND THIS IS THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION - THE SOUL BEING RELEASED FROM THE POWER OF THE DEVIL, SINS HAVING BEEN FORGIVEN, IN THE FAR RIGHT-HAND CORNER THERE ARE FIGURES HOLDING CHALICES, REPRESENTING THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS ALSO COMMEMORATED BY THE FIGURE OF THE LAST SUPPER IN THE CENTER OF THE MURAL,
UNDERNEATH THE WORDS, "HE THAT BELIEVETH" ARE TWO FIGURES. THE ONE IS HOLDING WHAT LOOKS LIKE A RING WITH A DIAMOND SET IN THE TOP OF IT, AND PRESUMABLY WATER FLOWING THROUGH IT. JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THAT FIGURE AND A LITTLE LOWER IS ANOTHER FIGURE. THESE TWO TOGETHER COMMEMORATE THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY. THE THREE FIGURES REFERRED TO BEFORE WITH THE HANDS RAISED IN BLESSING ARE THOSE THAT BRING THE GRACE OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE SICK. ST. JAMES SAYS, "IS THERE ANYONE SICK AMONG YOU? HE SHOULD ASK FOR THE PRIESTS OF THE CHURCH. THEY IN TURN ARE TO PRAY OVER HIM ANOINTING HIM WITH OIL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD." THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS IS REPRESENTED PRINCIPALLY THROUGH THE LAST SUPPER. BUT JUST TO THE LEFT OF THE LAST SUPPER, IN THE CENTER PANEL AROUND THE WORDS, "AND PREACH. . ." ARE THREE FIGURES DENOTING NEWLY ORDAINED PRIEST. THUS ALL SEVEN SACRAMENTS ARE REPRESENTED.
RETURNING TO THE GEOGRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION - ABOVE THE WORDS, "...ALL THE WORLD" THERE IS A SIGN OF THE JERUSALEM CROSS. THIS MARKS THE AREA IN WHICH CHRIST FOUNDED THE CHURCH, IN WHICH HE LIVED HIS LIFE HERE ON EARTH, THE EASTERN PART OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, THE AREA OF THE NEAR EAST. A LITTLE BIT TO THE UPPER LEFT THERE IS A WREATH OF LAUREL WITH THE FIGURES CHI RHO AND THE GREEK LETTERS ALPHA AND OMEGA (FOR SOME REASON THE ARTIST HAS REVERSED THEM AND HAS OMEGA, THEN ALPHA) BUT THAT AREA INDICATES THE CITY OF ROME WHICH IS NOW THE CENTER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD ON EARTH. VISIBLE IS THE EUROPEAN COASTLINE OF THE NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN JUST JUNDER THE GREEK LETTER OMEGA; ALSO THE IBERIAN PENINSULA AND THE WESTERN COAST OF FRANCE. THE THREE FIGURES, OF COURSE, - ONE AT THE TOP AND THE TWO BELOW REPRESENT THE CHURCH IN THE MINISTRY OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
GOING A LITTLE TO THE LEFT IN THE SECOND PANEL ON THE TOP ROW IS THE ATLANTIC COASTLINE OF THE UNITED STATES; THERE IS A FIGURE OF A BISHOP IN EPISCOPAL ROBES STANDING OVER THE AREA THAT
WOULD BE THE PENINSULA OF FLORIDA, AND WITH A PAIR OF BINOCULARS OR FIELD GLASSES, ONE CAN SEE ON THE LEFT-HAND SHOULDER THE INITIALS C.F.C. - COLEMAN FRANCIS CARROLL, THE FIRST BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF MIAMI. SURROUNDING THE BISHOP, STANDING IN FRONT AND THEN A LITTLE TO HIS RIGHT, ARE SOME FIGURES OF YOUNG MEN. THESE ARE THE SEMINARIANS OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY SEMINARY, AND THEN JUST BEHIND HIM, MORE ADULT FIGURES, ORDAINED PRIESTS WHO CAME FROM THIS INSTITUTION.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MURAL, THE THIRD PANEL FROM THE LEFT, THERE IS A COLLAGE OF BUILDINGS AND JUST BENEATH THE BUILDINGS A SNARLED REPTILE WITH THE HEAD OF A SNAKE, THIS REPRESENTS THE MATERIAL WORLD, THE WORLD WHICH CHRIST WARNED HIS DISCIPLES NOT TO ACCEPT, THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD, BUT RATHER TO ACCEPT THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST.
ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE THIRD PANEL ON THE BOTTOM ROW, THERE IS A MOUNT OF BUILDINGS, PALACES, AND A STREAM OF PEOPLE MOVING INTO THEM. THIS REPRESENTS PARADISE, - "IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS, IF THIS WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU." SO, THESE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED AND WHO ARE BEING ADMITTED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
ON THE PANEL AT THE FAR UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER, THERE IS A SMALL FIGURE BENEATH THE BORDER. IT IS NOT DISTINGUISHABLE WITHOUT THE AID OF FIELD GLASSES OR BINOCULARS, WITH THESE IT IS POSSIBLE TO RECOGNIZE THE FIGURE OF THE VIRGIN. THIS IS A FIGURE TAKEN FROM THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION (CHAPTER XII: vs. 13-17) IN WHICH ST. JOHN SAYS THAT "THEN THE DRAGON SAW THAT HE HAD BEEN CAST DOWN TO THE EARTH, HE PURSUED THE WOMAN WHO HAD GIVEN BIRTH TO THE BOY. BUT THE WOMAN WAS GIVEN THE WINGS OF A GIGANTIC EAGLE SO THAT SHE COULD FLY OFF TO HER PLACE IN THE DESERT, WHERE, FAR FROM THE SERPENT, SHOE COULD BE TAKEN CARE OF FOR A YEAR AND FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS MORE." THE IDEA CONVEYED HERE IS THAT MARY IS THE MOTHER OF THE FIRST PRIEST, AND THE PRIESTROOD IS FOREVER; AND CERTAINLY SATAN NOR ANY OF HIS FORCES WILL EVER DESTROY THAT PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.
THE PRIESTHOOD IS ALSO COMMEMORATED BY THE ANNUNCIATION WHICH IS IN THE NEXT PANEL ON THE TOP ROW WHERE THE ANGEL GABRIEL IS TELLING MARY THAT SHE IS TO BE THE MOTHER OF GOD, THE MOTHER OF THE FIRST PRIEST. ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE IN THE SECOND PANEL ON THE TOP ROW, IS THE FIGURE OF ST. MICHAEL WHO IS THE DEFENDER OF THE CHURCH. AND IN THE FRONT OF HIM HE HAS THE SWORD AND THE SHIELD - NOT TO BE USED IN PHYSICAL WARFARE BUT IN THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE DEFENDING THE SOULS THAT ARE TO BE SAVED THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THE PRIESTS OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY SEMINARY.
IN THE MIDDLE ROW AND THE LOWER ROW, ON THE EXTREME LEFT, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF FISH, ONE A HUGE FISH, WHICH REPRESENTS JONAH AND THE WHALE FORETELLS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AFTER THREE DAYS IN THE TOMB. THE OTHER FISH REPRESENT WHAT CHRIST SPOKE OF - "I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN." THESE FISH THEN REPRESENT THOSE WHO WILL BE SERVED BY THOSE WHOM CHRIST CALLS TO SERVE IN HIS PRIESTHOOD.
Editor's note: This document was scanned and converted to computer text by Ray J. Vaughan, Oct. 1, 2008. Original spellings were maintained. Handwritten corrections were made for the conversion.
Here is another very similar document, also by Fr. Easterly that explains the meaning and the art of the Chapel including some details of the mural. I scanned the original eight page paper and converted it to an electronic format for inclusion in this web site. If you use any part of it, please credit Fr. Easterly. I do not know which document was the final version so I have included both here.
An Untitled document by Rev. Frederick J. Easterly C.M. Fr. Easterly was on the faculty of SJV from 1965 to the departure of the Vincentians in 1975.
The design of the building is very simple. In the interior, it was the intention of the Archbishop to keep as many things as simple as possible so that all devotion would be centered on the Eucharist as the center of worship, and because the Eucharist in the mass is the center of worship, the building, itself, becomes a fountain of grace which gives you the shape of the wings on either side of the exterior of the building.
In the first courtyard, the mural depicts the story of Tobias, and in inquiring of Mrs. Maytag why the particular interest in the story of Tobias, she said that it represents to her the process of conversion; that with Tobias and his blindness, he was led from darkness into light, and the layers were removed from his eyes, just as the layers of ignorance are removed from the mind of the person being converted to a full knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The mural in the second courtyard commemorates Vatican Council II. The chapel was built during the time that this council was in session. So the theme of the council is given on the top, "Ut Unum Sint," "So That All Might be One." The center of the mural is the famous work of art of Michaelangelo, his figure of Peter which is in the church of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Surrounding the figure of Peter are the four angels holding the banners with the statements in Arabic, in Greek, in Latin, and in Hebrew; the four languages which over the years have been the languages of the councils. The coats of arms of the two popes during the course of the council: Pope John XXIII is on the lower left, that of Pope Paul, VI, is on the right, in the upper left hand corner is the coat of arms of Archbishop Carroll, who was the one who constructed the chapel and put much of the meaning of the art-work into it.
In the outer courtyards are the stations of the Cross. These were done in bronze in Rome and shipped over here. When they first arrived, they were very light in color. Now, they have become very seasoned and really look like antique pieces of art. The one station that is of particular interest, is the twelfth station in the garden on the lefthand side of the chapel. Standing in the rear of the station itself are several figures that are easily recognizable. To the left stands the figure of Archbishop Carroll in his episcopal robes and directly behind him the figure of Cardinal John Dearden, who was the president of the Episcopal Conference in the United States and who was the principal celebrant and the homilist on the occasion of the dedication of the chapel, on January 16, 1966.
Another station which has a fairly recognizable figure is the fourteenth. The standing figure at the extreme right has the facial expression of Mrs. Mary Louise Maytag.
As we indicated earlier, it was the wish of Archishop Carroll that there be a minimum of decoration within the chapel itself so as not to detract from the presence of the blessed sacrament. The few decorations that are here, are the tapestries to the right and to the left, the stained glass windows, and the mural over the sanctuary. The tapestries as you enter the chapel on the right hand side center is the figure of Christ, the teacher. Flanking Him on either side are the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, the teachers of the early church, following in the footsteps of the Master. On the left side is the figure of Christ, the good shepherd, the model of the priesthood, and on either side of the Good Shepherd are the figures of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, the patron saints of seminarians, both of whom died as deacons before reaching the priesthood.
The stained glass windows, the one on the left is dedicated to Mary, the
Mother of the Church. This was the title given to Mary at the end of the
council, during which period the chapel was constructed. On the right hand side
is the window dedicated to St. John Vianney, the patron of the seminary, also
the patron saint of the secular clergy, diocesan clergy of the church. St. John
Vianney is kneeling at the feet of Christ asking for the grace to carry out his
priesthood, according to the will of the Heavenly Father. The stained glass
windows at the top of the structure may at first appearance look like just a
conglameration of colors, and yet there is a very deep meaning behind it all.
Starting at the center point on the right and going clockwise, the coloring is
of the early morning sunlight. It is the rising of the sun, and as you proceed
clockwise down the right wall, the colors begin to get brighter and brighter and
brighter and brighter until you reach a point directly over the front door, the
brightest part of the entire segment of windows, representing noonday.
Continuing on, clockwise, the coloring tends toward blue, the evening colors,
and moving from evening into night until you reach the point again over the
center of the sanctuary which designates midnight. The meaning behind the
The mural directly above the sanctuary was painted by Gabriel Luar (?) during the years 1968 and 1969. They were done in his home town in the south of France. The entire mural is done in twenty-seven segments. Each segment followed a design from an original cartoon that was made by the artist, himself. When the mural was erected Gabriel Luar came here to supervise the erection of it. He stood in the center aisle of the chapel and remarked, "This is most unusual. I painted every inch of that mural, and this is the first time I saw it together as one piece of art."
There are many ideas contained in the mural, and they all center around the quotation given in the center of the picture, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel of every creature.' He that believes and is baptised shall be saved." This is Christ's commission to his priests. So that the entire picture centers around that commission given to the priests to preach the word of God, to baptize, and to bring salvation to those whom they serve. In order to emphasize the notion of the whole world, the artist has incorporated the five continents of the world. To the far right is a segment of the Asian coast and the Pacific Ocean. In the center part of the picture, just above the words, "Go ye into all the world," you can see the outline of the African coast. Further to the southwest of the picture, the left hand side, is the outline of the continent of Asia, and just above that, a little bit to the upper left, is Central America and the coastline of the Atlantic American coast. So that the five continents are embraced; taking in the whole world.
Associated with the world as a whole are the signs of the zodiac. In very ancient times, it was thought that the signs of the zodiac determined the phases of the moon and the rising and the setting of the sun, and, therefore, governed the whole world. Spread throughout the entire mural are all twelve signs of the zodiac; the sign of Sorpio and Libra and Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius. And while they are looked upon as astromical figures, we can also look upon them as being signs of the priesthood itself. Scorpius, certainly brings out the scriptural statement that they shall touch scorpions and snakes, And there on the lower left-hand side you can see them holding them in their hands. Yet, as the scripture says, they will not be harmed because they are the messengers of God. Libra signifies a balance. It is up in the far righthand corner, and here this balance can represent prudence; it can represent a balance of justice in the world through the ministry of the priest. And with so many others; Virgo representing the celibacy of the clergy; the lion, Leo, representing the evangelists; the twins, whom Christ called, "Bon Erjais" (?); the bull being the strength of the priesthood; the ram and the goats, Aries and Capricornus, being the flock to which the Good Shepherd would confide His sheep. Aquairius is the water carrier, and water plays such a prominent part in our liturgical life in the sacrament of Baptism; in the use in the Holy Eucharist in the Eucharistic Liturgy. And so it is that the signs of the zodiac not only indicate the entire world, but they also pertain to the aspects of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
We mentioned earlier that Christ is the first priest, and so commemorated in the mural are the two principle mysteries of our faith, the mystery of the Trinity and the mystery of the Incarnation. In the center-most part of the mural at the top encircled are three figures; the figure of God the Father holding in his hands the Church over which he guides; the figure on the right, the figure of the Son of God holding the cross which is the sign of man's redemption. And in the center, the figure of the dove, the Holy Spirit, eminating the spirit of God into the Church and into the ministers of the Church. To the side of the Trinity, there are two lines converging just below the knees of the figures of Christ. This represents the funneling of divine grace through Christ, the Son of God, who had come into the world through the Incarnation, and through that figure of Christ, with the Chi Ro on his garment, is the means by which the priesthood will be carried out in all the world. Again, the world is represented in the mural not by a solid sphere but in two separate segments. The first segment begins in the upper lefthand corner and comes down counter-clockwise underneath the figure of Christ and then rises up to the upper righthand corner. This is the lower part of the sphere of the world. The upper part of the sphere starts at the lower lefthand corner, rises up to the middle of the figure of Christ, and then starts descending to the lower righthand corner. The upper part of that lower sphere forms the table of the Last Supper, and about one foot below that line is another line designating the outline of the table with the cups, the instruments of the supper, sitting upon the table. Around the table are the eleven figures of the first apostles; presumably Judas has already left the scene since there are only eleven commemorated there.
The work of the priesthood is to bring the salvation of the Son of God into
all the world, and this is done through the words of Christ, "I will not leave
you orphans, I will come to you." He comes to us principally through the
sacraments He has left us, and all seven sacraments are commemorated in the
mural. Starting on the lower lefthand corner, there is a figure of a person
being baptised. The figure standing over the convert, or the person to be
baptised, is the figure of Christ, and if you look closely, the facial
resemblance of the person being baptized is that of Mrs. Mary Louise Maytag.
Underneath the words, "He that believeth." are two figures. The one is holding what looks like a ring with a diamond set in the top of it, and presumably water flowing through it. Just to the right of that figure and a little bit lower is a second figure, and these two together commemorate the sacrament of Matrimony.
The three figures that I referred to before with the hands raised in blessing are those that bring the grace of the Sacrament of the Sick. St. James says, "That if there is anyone sick among you let him call in the priest, and he will bless you."
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is represented principally through the Last Supper. But just to the left of the Last Supper, in the center panel around the words, "And Preach" are three figures representing newly ordained priests. So that we have all seven sacraments commemorated.
Now going back to somewhat of a geographical representation, above the words, "All the World," there is a sign of the Jerusalem Cross. This represents the area in which Christ founded the Church, in which He lived His life here on earth, the eastern part of the Medditerrean, the area of the near east. A little bit to the upper left there is a wreath of laurel with the figures Chi Ro and the Greek letters alpha and omega (for some reason or other the artist has reversed them and has omega and alpha), but that area is the area of the city of Rome which is now the center of the Church of God on earth. You notice the European coastline of the northern Medditeranean just under the Greek letter omega, the Iberian Peninsula, the western coast of France. The three figures, of course, one at the top and the two below represent the Church in the ministry of the priesthood.
Going a little bit to the left in the second panel on the top row, that is the Atlantic coastline, there is a figure of a bishop in episcopal robes standing over the area that would be the peninsula of Florida, and if you had a pair of binoculars or field glasses, you could look at that figure closely and on the lefthand shoulder are the initials, C.F.C., Coleman Francis Carroll, the first bishop of the Diocese of Miami. Surrounding the bishop, standing in front and then a little bit to his right, are some figures of young men. These are the seminarians of St. John Vianney Seminary, and then just behind him, more adult figures, ordained priests who came from this institution.
Down on the lower panel, the third panel from the left, there is a collage of buildings and just beneath the buildings a snarled snake with the head of a snake. As far as we can determine, this represents the material world, the world which Christ warned his desciples not to accept, the spirit of this world but to accept the spirit of Jesus Christ.
On the opposite side of the third panel on the lower row, there is a mount of buildings, palaces, and a stream of people moving into them. This represents paradise, "In my Father's house there are many mansions. If this were not so, I would have told you." So, these are those who have been justified and who are being admitted into the Kingdom of God.
On the panel, the last panel on the righthand side on the top row, there is a small figure underneath the line. It is not distinguishable looking at it from the chapel floor, but with a pair of binoculars you can recognize that figure as the figure of the Virgin. And this is a figure taken from the words of the Book of Revelation, Chapter XI, Verse 19, in which St. John says that he saw a women about to give birth to a child, and at her feet was a serpent about to snatch this child and destroy it upon its birth. But as we read in the Book of Revelation, the child is lifted up by God and the virgin took him into a desert. The idea commemorated here is that Mary is the mother of the first priest, and the priesthood is forever; and certainly Satan nor any of his forces will ever destroy that priesthood of Jesus Christ.
The priesthood is also commemorated by the Annunciation which is in the next panel on the top row which the Angel, Gabbiel is telling Mary that she is to be the Mother of God, the Mother of the first priest. On the opposite side in the second panel on the top row, is the figure of St. Gabriel. Gabriel is the one who is the defender of the Church, and in the front of him he has the sword and the shield. Not to be used in physical warfare but the spiritual warfare defending the souls that are to be saved through the ministry of the priests from this institution.
In the middle row and the lower row, on the extreme left, there are a number of fishes. One a huge fish which very likely represents Jonah and the whale, which is the foretelling the resurrection of Christ after three days in the tomb. But the other fish represent what Christ spoke of, "I will make you fishers of men." These fish then represent those who will be served by those whom Christ calls to his priesthood.
The crucifix erected in the students' diningroom over the prefect's table was
a gift from Mary Louise Maytag to the students of St. John Vianney Seminary in
appreciation for having dedicated the yearbook in her honor. She indicated that
the crucifix is from Spain. She had seen it on one of her visits and appreciated
it so much that she bought it and brought it back. The cross is made of pure
silver. It is inlaid with black ebony, and the corpus is a piece of solid ivory.
Sprinkled on the up-right and crossbar are gems of pink coral. The entire cross
is representative of her appreciation to the seminarians.
Editor's note: This document was scanned and converted to computer text by Ray J. Vaughan, Oct. 1, 2008. Original spellings were maintained. Handwritten corrections were made for the conversion.