Category Archives: David Trumbull

I Found This Incredible Web-Site!!!

brought to you by Allan Gillis

I dedicate this entry to my esteemed friend and a contributor David Trumbull, who always challenged his friends and acquaintances to learn such things – and to understand the importance of architecture and it’s ramifications on culture and the culture’s impact on it; as a science and/or an art.    –  thank you David!

I invite you to visit and explore!


10 Architectural Terms All Catholics Should Know

by on

Listers, the following is a list of  basic architectural terms that imports the vocabulary necessary to understand the sacred tradition of Catholic architecture. Too many Catholic churches have suffered under ephemeral and malformed modernist cultural trends, resulting in embarrassing and fatuous structures. Let us remember and return to the rich architectural traditions of both the East and the West.

The following terms were taken from the architectural section of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception website.


A covered walkway or aisle that makes the circuit of the nave and apses of the Upper Church, with chapels radiating to the east, the west, and to the north.


The vaulted, semi-circular areas to the east, west and north of the sanctuary in the Upper Church.

Baldachin [baldacchin, baldachino, baldaquin]

The free-standing canopy of four columns and arches above the altar in the sanctuary of the Upper Church. The term comes from the Spanish baldaquin or the Italian baldacco, which refers to the lavish brocaded material imported from Baghdad and hung as a canopy over an altar or doorway. The term also applies to the canopy used in Eucharistic processions and to that which covers the episcopal throne or cathedra. The most famous of baldachins is that of Bernini (1598-1680) in the Basilica of St. Peter.
Chancel In the Upper Church it is the area between the baldachin altar and the main altar.


That part of the Shrine, which would be a second “story” and “clear” of the floor, thereby allowing an unobstructed view of the roof. The large windows above the nave are Clerestory Windows.


Spans the width of the narthex, the length of the nave and the chancel area. Located in the south gallery above the narthex are the Rose Window (Ave Maria), the South Gallery Organ (1965 by M. P. Möller, Op. 9702) and the bank of pontifical trumpets; in the east and west nave and the chancel galleries are the clerestory windows; in the west chancel gallery is the Chancel Organ (Möller, Op. 9702).


The area of the church extending across the south side, between the nave and the vestibule. In former days, it was the area reserved for the penitents and catechumens.


From the Latin navis for “ship.” The central open space of the church, traditionally for the worshipping community. It is believed that in early Christianity, the symbolism of the ship related to St. Peter or the Ark of Noah.


The area in which the baldachin altar is located.


A rectangular area which cuts across the main axis of the building. It gives the Shrine the shape of a Latin cross.


The area between the main outer doors and the main inner doors which lead into the narthex.


“Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,

By David Trumbull

( We here at are proud to present another in what we hope will be a continuing series of offerings from a noted local writer here in Boston. Mr. Trumbull is a “converted” Roman Catholic, hence he actually approached his baptism “with reason and heart”…choosing to be a Catholic, choosing to come to Rome. As a convert to Catholicism he joins many notables such as Johann Christian Bach, Robert Bork, Tony Blair, G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene, Newt Gingrich, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, Russell Kirk, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Henry Newman and Robert Novak.    I personally consider David’s thoughtful intelligence just as great as any of these men listed. I’m serious. If we’re fortunate enough to have him write for enough times – you’ll be just as sure as I am on this.  – Allan Gillis )



David Trumbull writes:

The verse which captions this article is from Nehemiah Chapter 8 and was the first reading at Mass a few weeks ago. “Interpreting it,” what does that mean, and why is it relevant to readers of We are not theologians nor scholars. Nor was Ezra, at least not in his capacity on the day described in the passage, which states “Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand.” Did he then “interpret” the law by giving a homily, as do our priests at Mass? If so, the passage would seem to have little direct application to us lay men. I cannot rule out that possibility. But I prefer to understand the passage another way.

“Ezra read plainly from the book.” Aside from the impracticality, in ancient times, of giving everyone in the assembly a missalette, not to mention the fact that not all could read, there is a reason Ezra read aloud to the assembly. Throughout the scriptures, God calls his people with the spoken Word. The written word comes later as a memorial of the event. So, today, in the Mass, before we receive Christ in the Eucharist we encounter God in the spoken Word. “When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his word, proclaims the Gospel” — General Instruction of the Roman Missal Number 29.(

I am suggesting that Ezra was a lector, a ministry that perhaps you perform at your local parish. If you are not a lector, I want you to consider whether this ministry is for you.

Recently, I had an Ezra experience, when, after a Mass at which I read, someone came up and praised my reading. (That’s always awkward, it’s about the message, not the messenger.) After my customary, “It’s not me it’s the best material” response, she said, “But when you read it, it makes sense.” Knock me over with a feather! No wonder so many worshippers follow along in the missalette (not in itself a bad thing); they don’t understand what they are hearing from the lecturn!

The ministry of lector requires much preparation, is downright frightening to execute, and emotionally draining once dispatched. It is also tremendously satisfying to breathe life into a passage so that people hear it, perhaps for the first time, as the lively Word of God, not an old text that comes ‘round the cycle every three years at about this time of year. Among the myriad crises in the church, one must choose carefully which few to personally throw oneself into the breach. For me the ministry of lector is one of those few. I urge others to consider it.

“Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: ‘Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep’— for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.”