On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, was pleased to welcome Brian Regan, Deputy Director of the Morgan Library and Museum, as he presented "'Heaven Pointing’ in Newark: The Architecture of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Context'" as part of the Archbishop Gerety Lecture Series.
Mr. Regan is the author of Gothic Pride: The Story of Building a Great Cathedral in Newark. The book, published just last year, is the first comprehensive study of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and places this extraordinary structure in the rich and complex historical circumstances that produced it. Monsignor Robert J. Wister, Hist.Eccl.D., Professor of Church History at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and Chair of the Newark Archdiocesan Commission for the Ecclesiastical Patrimony, celebrated the publication of Gothic Pride: "Brian Regan brings his unique talents and exceptional knowledge of art, architecture, and history to tell the story of a ‘hidden jewel’ of the Northeast, Newark’s Sacred Heart Cathedral. He weaves a tapestry that includes architects, artisans, prelates, politicians, and the people of New Jersey as he recounts the story of this magnificent building."
As Mr. Regan proclaimed during his presentation, Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a truly exceptional Gothic Revival building, and is in fact solidly among the top five of the United States’ greatest cathedrals. Mr. Regan explained the central role that the Cathedral Basilica, on high ground and a beautiful, imposing structure, has played in the cultural life of the City of Newark, as well as in the spiritual life of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Included in his presentation were elements of architectural and art history, as well as discussions of the roles that various Church leaders and artisans played in the planning, design, and building of the Cathedral Basilica. Regan relayed the roles played by key figures from the 1850s to the present, including George Hobart Doane, Jeremiah O’Rourke, Gonippo Raggi, and Archbishop Thomas Walsh, and recounted how the ecclesiastical edifice achieved its highest recognition when Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Newark in 1995, moved by Sacred Heart’s beauty and fittingness as a worship space, named it a Cathedral Basilica.
Among the members of Mr. Regan’s fascinated audience that filled the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in Lewis Hall on Seton Hall University’s South Orange, NJ campus were the Most Reverend John Joseph Myers, J.C.D., D.D., Archbishop of Newark, and the Most Reverend Peter Leo Gerety, D.D., Archbishop Emeritus of Newark, both of whom have shepherded the faithful of the Church of Newark from the magnificent edifice at the heart of the evening’s presentation. The lecture was brought to life by a series of slides illustrating the human and architectural elements of the Cathedral Basilica’s history.
The Archbishop Gerety Fund for Ecclesiastical History was established by the Most Reverend Peter Leo Gerety, Archbishop Emeritus of Newark, to advance studies in ecclesiastical history, especially the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Among its various activities, the Fund sponsors lectures each year at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology.