This morning I had the privilege of con-celebrating Holy Mass in a church designed by the same architect who designed the church building that helped to teach me to love God between the ages of twelve and sixteen.
Philip Frohman designed the National Cathedral on Mount St. Alban in Washington. His design employed the “pure Gothic” style.
When I was a student at St. Albans, I spent a lot of time staring up at the cathedral. I wrote poems and stories about it, including one about a cathedral janitor who begged to be allowed to go up to the roof to see the view. (The top of the cathedral tower is the highest place in Washington.) When he got up there, he realized that what he really loved was to look UP at the cathedral, not look out from it. From the roof, he could see everything else, but not the one thing he loved so much, the cathedral itself.
My father was an altarboy at the National Cathedral when he was a student at St. Albans in the 1950’s. He always loved the cathedral. My aunt and my cousin were married there.
After he designed the cathedral, Frohman converted to Catholicism. I have not been able to find any information about how his conversion came to pass. If you know anything about it, please chime in.
After he became Catholic, Frohman designed two parish churches in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. One of these parishes is under the care of a good friend of mine.
Our Lady of the Wayside church is probably about one-twentieth the size of the National Cathedral. But it possesses beautiful English Gothic touches. Being in the sacristy this morning felt like being in the Verger’s passageway in the cathedral (where I have not been in many years).
May God be praised in the beautiful buildings dedicated to His service!
Perhaps it will please God someday to have the beautiful National Cathedral finally come under the care of the Roman Catholic Church.