1.There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need (Acts 4:34-5).
These verses came up in the First Reading at Mass recently, and I was struck by a similarity between the way the Apostles organized the distribution of property and Notre Dame's financial aid policy, namely, that to every admitted student they provide aid sufficient to meet the student's demonstrated financial need. Perhaps partly because I benefited from this system, I am highly in favor of it, agreeing that admission should be the endpoint for judgments based on merit in the university admission/aid/housing process. Other universities, which base some of their aid on further post-admission considerations of merit, seem to be lacking in the commitment to the Gospel that Notre Dame exhibits in this regard, which is, I grant you, a slightly unusual situation. But I don't mind Notre Dame admitting meritorious students and then giving them all the aid they need to get the education that Notre Dame can give them. It certainly works out well for Notre Dame in the end, since they get their money back in many different ways, such as investments as well as in the tuition paid by wealthier students, who can afford it without much aid. On investments, see the first verse of the Acts passage, although Fr. Jenkins and the other administrators at Notre Dame are not quite the apostles, although at least one of the Fellows is an Apostolic Successor.
2. Has anyone else noticed the trend recently of basing new churches somewhat loosely but pretty recognizably on Early Christian architecture? Fairly wide in comparison to their height with clerestories (sometimes as the main area of windows) and round apses. The two things that are often missing (to my sorrow) are Columns (what's a Basilica without Columns?) and Mosaics. I really think a Liturgical Consultant was sitting around one day with a Somewhat Traditional Architect and the conversation went something like this.
LC: I'd like to help design a church, and I can, thanks to my vague liturgical training.
STA: OK, what kind of church would you like it to be? We've got Early Christian, Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Neogothic, and, I guess, Modern.
LC: Which one of those is the most like a Great Big Welcoming Hug?
(The STA considers for a moment. He seems unsure.)
STA: Um, none of them really, but the Early Christian basilica was based on a Greco-Roman meeting place type of building called a Basilica.
LC: Aha, the church is basically a place to gather, not like a temple you know. It's more about celebrating community than doing some kind of adoration for a God who's in "some heaven light-years away." It's more Gather than Worship, I'd say.
STA: I guessed you might be hoping for something along those lines. Yeah, Early Christian's pretty cool. Just think...all those Columns and Mosaics.
LC: Those aren't accessible to the average Joe Gather. Columns block the view and what possible symbolic significance could they have? And mosaics...they're all little pieces...way too scholastic for me. They don't look like anything
STA: The same could be said for a lot of your art.
(The STA collapses in a fit of laughter; when he has recovered, he leaves the LC to design his own church, while he himself goes to his studio and draws the elevation of a Renaissance palazzo or something.)
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