The Abbey Church was not open for visitors when we were at St Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama to visit Ave Maria Grotto. It really serves for use by the monks (5 times/day or more) and is not so much a public venue like the other Catholic churches, so they’ve been taking precautions in not opening the chapel to the public. If you’re planning a visit, though, of course call and inquire as to their current policy.
I’m not Catholic, so for me it’s the architecture and sense of beauty and peace. As a huge aside, one of my best friends (who moved out of town for his career years ago) was very involved in Catholic Charities and one year I got to take part in helping sort donations for Christmas; have maybe never seen a better organized system with so many terrific people in complete joy over what we were all taking part in.
I’ve mentioned this a bit before, but there’s so much semblance between this and the Holy Name Cathedral in Steubenville, Ohio, pictured in this America Magazine review of the 2018 book, American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow: Building Churches for the Future, 1925-1975 (I’m actually reading it now on my Scribd).
from a visit in 2015:
I’ve been particularly interested in the rebuilding/restoration of Notre Dame, and from the Art Newspaper earlier this month:
Will the fire-ravaged interior of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris be more like Disneyland than France’s most emblematic place of worship when it reopens after a major restoration? So fear the outraged critics of a new interior design for the monument—planned by Catholic church officials—which was presented during a video conference earlier this year.
Although the project has not been formally announced, Father Gilles Drouin provided an overview during an online conference in May for the general secretariat of Catholic education in France, which has been posted on YouTube. Last Friday, the British conservative newspaper The Telegraph denounced the reimagined Notre Dame as a “politically correct Disneyland” and an “experimental showroom”.
At The Spectator, Christian Rousselot, the director general of the Notre Dame Foundation is quoted: “a ‘visitors’ discovery trail’ will ‘provide the keys to half the planet that doesn’t know what a cathedral is.’”:
‘This trail going from north to south from the shadow to the light will depict the major moments of the Bible to explain in the most intelligible way to common mortals, whether Chinese or Swedish, what it all means. Foreign visitors see signs and magnificent paintings but don’t understand a thing. Images and sculptures and paintings count but so do words. So there are plans to project on certain words and expressions in Mandarin, French or Spanish and English.’