This week, at the RCIA in my parish, I will be discussing the history of the Church in America. Ergo, this week I will use this space to highlight some of my favorite parts of that talk, especially the ones, like this one, which show the contemporary relevance of history:
As we mentioned, Columbus brought the Catholic faith with him and the first bishop to arrive in the Western Hemisphere was the bishop of Puerto Rico, Don Alonso Manso, who took possession of his see in 1513. Most of his cathedral was burned in the nineteenth century but parts of the church date back to the sixteenth century and up the street, the church of San Jose remains in tact. There is an historical notation in the church’s architecture. The church sanctuary and transepts have beautiful stonework, but in the nave there is only stucco. The change represents the change of monarchs in Spain – Charles V was a great patron of the Church and his son Philip II was less generous, so the church had to be finished with the less expensive stucco.