Editorial: Ad Multos Annos

by Duncan G. Stroik, appearing in Volume 43

It all started in someone’s basement. A new journal dedicated to sacred architecture. With the help of John Stroik, my architect father, and some talented writers, we launched the magazine in 1998. There was nothing like it that I knew of – a journal dedicated to promoting the artistic patrimony of the Church. 

The magazine’s godfather was Ralph McInerny at Notre Dame who earlier had asked me to help him on an issue of Catholic Dossier dedicated to church architecture. Ralph was writing books on philosophy, murder mysteries, and editing four journals at the time. Another early supporter, John Powers, convinced me to go full color, and after that we were cheered on by prelates, priests, and architects, especially John Burgee and Thomas Gordon Smith. 

It has been great fun to do, and I hope a pleasure to read. People sometimes ask me what we have accomplished in twenty-five years and I tell them there has been a great sea change in the way American Catholics look at their churches. Where once they thought of their parishes as worship centers, they now see them as they should be, sacred places and houses of God. 

What are some of the fruits of 25 years of Sacred Architecture?

  1. Over forty new traditional parish churches.
  2. Upwards of one hundred tasteful renovations and restorations of historic churches.
  3. Several new classical cathedrals, shrines, and seminaries.
  4. The re-catholicization of many churches built since the 1950s.
  5. Numerous classical buildings at Catholic colleges and Newman centers.
  6. The commissioning of sacred art with a new generation of classical artists.
  7. Choir lofts with pipe organs, both new and borrowed from other churches.
  8. Several new architectural firms that specialize in sacred architecture.
  9. Five architecture schools where students can once again learn the basics of classical architecture.
  10. A generation of priests, bishops, and cardinals who embrace their artistic patrimony and acknowledge the importance of sacred art and architecture for the faithful.

There are many to thank and much to celebrate, and more to do. But one thing the tradition of sacred architecture and liturgy should teach us is the value of celebrating important anniversaries.  This fall will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sacred Architecture, and we will be celebrating this accomplishment at a gala celebration in Philadelphia on October 14. With gratitude to you, our readers, for supporting the journal over the years, I invite you to join us for a Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and a dinner afterwards. Ad multos annos!