Also decorative and instructive is the high altar, which was on display at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia before it made its way to Indiana, Rocca said. The story goes that Sorin saw the altar in France and asked the artisan firm that built it to construct him a copy or something similar for the church.
Also unavoidable are the murals adorning the walls. Rocca said Luigi Gregori, who was the Vatican’s artist in residence until Sorin persuaded him to come to Indiana, painted these images and the ones in the Main Building.
These also had their time at a world’s fair, this time at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, according to Rocca. Two of the panels of the Stations of the Cross, one of which is the 12th station, were on display there.
The Basilica hasn’t been left untouched. In fact, parts of the structure are adjusted, fixed or replaced every now and then, according to Zack.
For example, the audio system was upgraded to a digital one last year from an older analog system. The speakers, situated about halfway up the sanctuary on both sides, are almost indistinguishable from the columns at first glance.
Other changes include a renovation in 1968 to conform to new liturgical requirements from the Second Vatican Council. A restoration project beginning in 1988 closed the Basilica for 18 months while the paintings and stained glass were restored to their original condition, Zack said.
And the renovations aren’t done yet. The Basilica will receive a new organ, as well as an updated choir loft and sanctuary flooring, sometime in 2015, according to Rocca and Zack.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5