Virtual Tour of the Church
ST. MARY CHURCH INFO…
The original 1995 edition of this work was the volunteer effort of several St. Mary parishioners and staff members. David A. Bower conceived the idea, did the research and wrote the text. Helpful suggestions for revision were made by Patty Aakhus, Esther Baumgart, Helen Boettcher, Sister Darlene Boyd, SFCC, Susie Fox, Reverend Stephen P. Lintzenich, and Sister Mary Mundy, S.P. Jeanette B. Knapp typed every draft. Stephanie Fuelling provided advice about font type and design. Ryan Marvel prepared the text for printing. After the building renovations of 2007, David A. Bower reworked his original text. For the Third edition special thanks are due St. Mary parishioners, Jeanette B. Knapp and Gordon H. Bennett for their help in retyping the text and for their technological expertise. Thanks also go to Mary McNamee Bower, Reverend Stephen P. Lintzenich, Stephen A. McCallister, Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz, OSB, Paul J. Schutz, and Reverend William A. Traylor who were of invaluable assistance in revising and proofreading the text.
Sights, Sounds, & Symbols at St. Mary Catholic Church
Welcome to St. Mary Catholic Church. As you stand outside the main doors of this venerable edifice, you can see above your head the cornerstone placed by Bishop DeSaint Palais on October 28, 1866. At that point in history, Evansville was part of the Diocese of Vincennes. The church was formally named St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. We continue to pray in the original worship space. In 2007, a major refurbishing of this space, the oldest Catholic Church building in Evansville, was accomplished due to the generosity of parishioners and friends of St. Mary.
The building measures 66 feet wide by 140 feet long. The construction cost of the church in 1867 was $60,000 including bells, altars, organ and pews. The terrazzo floors were installed in 1954 and restored in 2007. As you enter the front doors of the church, you are facing south.
The outdoor spire stands 175 feet high. In the tower are three bells which are noted for their size and clarity of tone. The bells are named St. Michael, St. Mary, and St. Aloysius. In the 2007 refurbishment, the bells were turned, new clappers installed, and a digital control system added.
As you enter the church you come first to the vestibule. Depending upon the church design the vestibule, or narthex, can be a large gathering place where people greet each other and visit, or it can be a small entryway only. On your right is the door leading to the former choir loft where a Wicks organ was installed in 1942. The organ had 1005 pipes, 30 stops, and 12 couplings. The plaque on the door states that it was a gift of the parishioners in 1941. It was the third organ in the church. The chimes were donated in that same year by local funeral directors, Joseph Schaefer and Son. This instrument served the parish until 2007. The choir loft was removed in 2007 due to safety issues and was replaced with two small balconies for use by photographers and for filming. A new electro-pneumatic pipe organ was built for St. Mary by the A. E. Schlueter Company, Atlanta, Georgia. It is located on the east side of the sanctuary directly across from the Baptistry and was completed in the spring of 2010.
Moving through the double doors, you can see how in the mid-1980s St. Mary extended the vestibule and created a gathering place for hospitality by removing several pews. Going further you now come into the nave of the church. The nave (from the Latin word for boat), is a large assembly room where people gather to worship. When coming together for prayer, the people are referred to as the Assembly. The primary symbol in a Catholic church is the Assembly.
If you are visiting St. Mary when no worship services are taking place then the main symbol is not here. The church must have people to fulfill its true purpose. St. Mary is constructed in Gothic style. Its center ceiling is 50 feet high. A few more general explanations are necessary before we take up the specifics of this magnificent worship space.
Long before the advent of the printing press and when few people except the clergy were educated, the Catholic Church taught her people through the symbols of the worship space.
The holy water fonts behind the last pews are used by Catholics as a reminder of Baptism. We dip our fingers into the water and mark ourselves anew with the Sign of the Cross, the sign in which we are baptized. These fonts serve as a reminder of the baptismal pool or Baptistry.
If you walk up the right aisle and stand in front of the Baptistry, you will note that there is a fountain of running water. We are reminded that every time we come to Eucharist we come through Baptism.
Next to the pool is the large paschal candle. On the eve of Easter Sunday, this candle is plunged into the waters of the baptismal pool while the Church prays that the Holy Spirit unseal this font to become the womb of new life for the Church.
You also see displayed the Holy Oils. These oils are used in the celebration of the Sacraments and are blessed each year during Holy Week at the Chrism (Oil) Mass. The oil of the sick is used in the anointing of those who suffer mentally, physically or emotionally (James 5:13-15). As Catholics, we believe that God still heals and restores health thorough the power of Jesus and the Church’s faithful prayer.
The oil of catechumens is used in our Baptismal rite. Sacred Chrism is also used at Baptism, for the ordination of deacons, priests and bishops, and for the dedication of Churches.
As you move down the center aisle, you arrive at the altar where the Eucharist is celebrated. Another primary symbol, the altar can be made of marble, stone, wood or other materials. The altar is very important in Catholic worship. As Catholics, we believe that the altar represents Christ, and therefore we reverence the altar with a bow. As you can see, here at St. Mary the solid wooden altar is clearly in table form and it reaches out into the congregation.
Here in the sanctuary is the Ambo (lectern), the reading stand where the Word of God is proclaimed.
The large chair in the sanctuary where the priest sits during Mass and other liturgical rites is called the Presider’s chair. In this role a priest presides over the Assembly as its leader in this communal prayer.
This entire area is called the sanctuary. The word “sanctuary” comes from the Latin word “sanctus” which means “holy.” On each side of the sanctuary there is an angel statue holding a candelabrum of lights.
Looking straight ahead you will see what is called the reredos, referred to by some people as the high altar. Before the changes which occurred after the second Vatican Council (1963-1965) the reredos, or extension of the altar, is what most Catholics meant when they spoke of the altar (rather than the table itself). Historically, these altars with their reredos were often objects of great beauty, the focal point of the Assembly area, and the pride of the parish. Mass was celebrated at the high altar from 1867 until the Vatican II reforms (1963-1965). Looking up you will see the dome with its stained glass cupola. The “crown” of the sanctuary expresses in art glass the reverence we hold for this sacred space.
St. Gabriel – High above the reredos, directly in the center above the statue of Mary, is a statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel was the angel who announced to Mary that she was to bear a child (Luke 1:26-38).
Immaculate Conception – Directly under the statue of Gabriel you see a statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under the title of Immaculate Conception. This dogma was defined by Pope Pius IX and ratified by the Church on December 8, 1854. It says that Mary was totally free from sin, including original sin, from the time of her conception in the womb of her mother, Anne. Prior to 1938 there was an oil painting of our Lady in this location. Soon after the flood of 1937, the church sustained a fire. The painting was ruined by heat, smoke, and water. It could not be salvaged. A niche was fitted into the space and a pedestal installed to add height for the new statue.
St. Boniface – As you face Mary, you see on your right a representation of St. Boniface (675-754) who was the Bishop of Fulda, Germany. He was born and ordained a Benedictine priest-monk in England. Sent to Germany in 722 to convert people to the Christian faith, he was later made bishop and archbishop. He was martyred along with 53 companions and is buried at Fulda, Germany.
St. Henry – To Mary’s left is a statue of St. Henry (972-024). Henry II was crowned king of Germany at Mainz (1002), king of Italy at Pavia (1004), and emperor of Rome (1014). He was born near Hildesheim, Germany and educated for a career in the Church. As a secular ruler, he was a great help to the Church at every level and is portrayed holding a church to express that fact.
St. Matthew – Below St. Henry is a statue of St. Matthew with an angel, or winged boy. St. Matthew’s Gospel gives us the genealogy of Jesus which stresses our Lord’s humanity (Matthew 1:1-25).
St. Mark – St. Mark is next represented with the head of a lion. His was the first Gospel written; therefore, he is shown with the king of all animals.
In the center of this structure, the reredos, is the former tabernacle. This is where the Blessed Sacrament was kept prior to the Vatican II Council (1963-1965). In the center of the tabernacle door is a cross surrounded by clusters of grapes and wheat representing bread and wine, which become the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass.
Above the tabernacle you will also see a panel with grapes and wheat. There is a marble altar stone on the altar table proper (mensa) with five crosses representing the five wounds of Christ. Below the center cross there is a square container where relics of the saints are enclosed. Relics are objects kept and revered as a memorial of a saint. Through the centuries it became customary to always celebrate Mass “over” relics of saints. This practice began in the first century, when Mass was celebrated in the catacombs over tombs of early Christians. There is no notation of whose relics are contained in this particular altar stone.
St. Luke – To the right of the tabernacle is St. Luke, represented by a horned cow or bull. Luke’s Gospel begins with the Bethlehem story which records that animals were present at our Lord’s birth (Luke 2:1-20).
St. John – Next is St. John the Evangelist, shown with an eagle. His Gospel is the most mystical. It soars like an eagle above the others (John1:1-26).
St. Jerome – On the front of the altar, on the far left as you face it, is a statue of St. Jerome (347-419). He was born of wealthy parents in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia, now a land region in Croatia) and studied in Trier, Germany. He was a Scripture scholar and a Doctor of the Church. Considered to be the most learned and profound of all the Latin Fathers, he mastered Greek and Hebrew as well as his native Latin. He was the first to translate the Bible into Latin. This translation is called the Vulgate. He ended his days at Bethlehem where he had founded a monastery many years earlier.
St. Gregory the Great – Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604) is depicted next. He wears the papal tiara. Gregory was the last of the four great Doctors of the West, and founded the medieval papacy. He was from a family of wealth and education which had spawned two popes. He had an excellent education and was made Prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office, he resigned. Gregory then founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk. He was sent as a Papal Legate to Constantinople in 579. He was elected Pope in 590 and reorganized what was becoming a very wealthy Church, using the increased revenues to help the poor and suffering. He was noted for his diplomacy and scholarship as well as his musical talent. He promoted the monastic way of life. It was Gregory who developed our concept of purgatory and brought to the Church undisputed political and moral power as Bishop of Rome.
The Paschal Lamb – Symbol of Christ, is next.
St. Augustine – Next is a statue of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430). He was born of a Christian mother, Monica, and a pagan father, Patricius, at Tagaste in the African province of Numidia (Algeria). He lived a dissolute life until his conversion at age 32 in the summer of 386. He converted to faith largely through the influence of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Italy, and through the diligent prayers of his mother, Monica. A Doctor of the Church, Augustine is considered by some to be the single most influential theologian in the history of the Western Church. St. Augustine set the theological stage for many centuries to come. He died as bishop of Hippo (Bône, Algeria) and is shown with a pen and book to reflect how prolific he was as a writer and teacher.
St. Ambrose – Ambrose was born in Trier, Germany, studied in Rome and became Governor of Milan, Italy. He was elected Bishop of Milan by acclamation of the people on December 7, 374. It is interesting to note that Ambrose was not even baptized at this time. Baptism was necessary before his priestly and episcopal ordination could occur. He gave up his wealth in favor of the Church of Milan, leading a life of prayer and penance. He is one of the Doctors of the Latin Church. Through his preaching and life style, he bought Augustine to penance and conversion. He was also a noted liturgist. The Ambrosian rite is still celebrated in and around Milan. There is a legend that as a youngster, without causing him any harm, bees swarmed around Ambrose to foreshadow his future eloquence as a preacher whose honeyed words were sweet to the listener.
Surrounding the sanctuary are eight different panels painted to look like mosaic tiles. These are mirror panels – that is, both sides are the same. All eight panels depict a chalice with grapes and wheat, symbols of the Eucharist. The greenery shown is a sign of life. The stem of the chalice is a stylized cross. Closest to the reredos and above the chalice is an anchor, a symbol of hope, and the Greek letters “alpha” and “omega” (beginning and ending), a symbol of Christ. The next panel shows above the chalice the letters IHS. These are the first three letters in Greek of the word, Jesus, IOTA, ETA, SIGMA. Protruding from the “H” is the Cross of Jesus and below are three nails calling to mind the crucifixion.
Above the chalice in the next panel is an ancient symbol of Christ: a cross with three beams representing the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and, in the center, a fish representing Christ. ICHTHYS or ICHTHUS is from the Greek word IXOUS meaning fish. The fish was a symbol of the Eucharist originally used in the second century. In the Greek form, this is an acrostic, used as a confession of faith. I (ESOUS), X (RISTOS), TH(EOU), U (IOS), S (OTER). It means “Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior.” This symbol is a universal expression of Christianity.
The next panel depicts the Chi/Rho above the chalice. The X is the Greek letter Chi, pronounced “key.” The P is the Greek letter Rho, pronounced “row.” They are the first two letters of the Greek word, XPISTOS, pronounced “Christos,” i.e., Christ. It is an ancient abbreviation.
As you walk toward the right, you come to the work sacristy and storage area. Note the windows there are original to 1867. Across the sanctuary (east side) is Our Lady’s Chapel. Renovated in 1992, it was formerly the main sacristy, a room which housed the sacred vestments and vessels, and where the priest vested for Mass. The bell above the door was rung as the priest and servers came into the sanctuary for services. This chapel opens into a beautiful garden.
The Blessed Sacrament is housed here. As part of the 2007 renovation, a Reconciliation Chapel was planned for this space. This room, designed for the individual celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, replaces the confessionals which were common from the 16th century until about 1980.
Blessed Sacrament: The Blessed Sacrament, consecrated bread from the celebration of the Eucharist is housed in what used to be the tabernacle tower. The word “tabernacle” is taken from the Latin “tabernaculum” meaning “tent”). Beyond the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church has a most ancient tradition of reserving the Eucharistic bread to bring Communion to those near death, to the sick, and to be the object of private devotion. The Vigil Light is a candle lamp which is always burning before the tabernacle and traditionally has served Catholics as the sign that the Blessed Sacrament) is present.
Sacred Heart of Jesus – If you walk to the middle of the sanctuary and face the reredos, you see on the right a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus, portrayed as the Sacred Heart, is an object of devotion and a symbol of the love which Christ has for humankind. The ultimate object of this devotion is the Incarnate Word – Jesus – but particular attention is directed to Christ’s heart, insofar as it symbolizes his immense love for all.
St. Joseph – Continuing on, you will face the side altar on the west side of the church. In earlier days, the side altars were also used for offering Mass. The statue of St. Joseph and the Child Jesus is in the center. St. Joseph was the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. He was a carpenter by trade, just and pious, an excellent husband and father. The genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 traces his line from Abraham and King David. Joseph is descended from Jesse, the father of David. “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (Isaiah 11:1) It was at the time of uncertainty when he learned Mary was with child that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and revealed to him the Mystery of the Incarnation. “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David,” said the angel, “to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten of her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save the people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
St. Martin de Porres – On the left is a statue of St. Martin de Porres who lived from 1579 to 1639. He was the son of a Spanish knight, Juan de Porres, and a freed black woman from Panama, Anna Velasquez. As a boy of 12 he was apprenticed to a barber in Lima, Peru and learned from him rudimentary medical skills. During these years Martin met Dominican priests, brothers and sisters, and at age 15 joined the Friary of the Most Holy Rosary in Lima where he worked and lived as a Brother. He became so well known for his kindness to the poor that people called him Martin of Charity.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga – On the right is the statue of St. Aloysius (1568-1591). Born in Gonzaga, Italy, Aloysius grew up in royal courts and army camps, exposed to an unseemly way of life. Son of a princely family whose father wanted him to be a military hero, Aloysius experienced a profound spiritual awakening at age seven. Two years later he went to Florence, Italy, to be educated, and by age eleven was teaching catechism to poor children, fasting three days a week, and practicing great austerity. At age 13, he traveled with his parents and the Empress of Austria to Spain where he acted as a page in the court of Phillip II. The more he saw of court life, the more he was disillusioned. Reading about the experiences of Jesuit missionaries in India caused him to enter the Jesuit novitiate. When, in 1591 a plague struck Rome, Aloysius nursed patients and caught the disease. He died a few months later at the age of 23.
Immaculate Heart of Mary – On the east side of the church where you see a statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which depicts Mary’s great love for all. Next to this statue is the side altar of the Blessed Virgin. Mary Queen of Heaven – The center statue is of the Blessed Virgin under the title Queen of Heaven. She holds the infant Jesus, and Jesus holds a globe as he raises his hand in blessing. This symbolizes his being the redeemer of the world.
St. Clare of Assisi – On the left is a representation of St. Clare of Assisi, Italy (1194-1253). As a young girl she refused to marry. At age 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis, and he became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide. At age 18, she escaped from her father’s home and in the poor little chapel of the friars, received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed her long tresses to the scissors of St. Francis. Her sister joined her and they lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity and complete seclusion from the world. They followed a rule Francis gave them as the Second Order (Poor Clares). Clare is holding a monstrance (or ostensorium – a vessel in which the consecrated host is placed for public adoration). This commemorates the occasion in 1239 when she warded away the soldiers of Frederick II, King of Sicily, at the gates of her Assisi convent by displaying the Blessed Sacrament while kneeling in prayer.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary – On the right is a statue of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231). Daughter of the king of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism which endeared her to common people throughout Europe. At age 14, she married Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved, and subsequently bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. She wore simple clothing and daily took bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate. Her husband died in the Crusades just six years after they were married. She was grief – stricken and in 1228 joined the Third Order of St. Francis, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital she founded in honor of St. Francis.
She died at age 24.
Facing north from the center of sanctuary you can see symbols high on the ceiling. These symbols reflect invocations of Mary dating back to the earliest days of the church. These titles were compiled in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, first approved officially for use in 1587. A litany is a devotional prayer used for many liturgical occasions. The word litany comes from the Greek meaning supplication or petition.
The first image on the west wall represents Virgin Most Merciful – a heart pierced with a sword of sorrow, and ringed with a crown of thorns. Next is a fountain – Mother of Divine Grace. Then the chair – Seat of Wisdom. Spiritual Vessel – a censer (container) with burning coals and incense. Crossing to the east side you see Tower of Ivory – what looks like a castle, and then, Mystical Rose. The chalice with cross is Singular Vessel of Devotion, followed by Morning Star.
Looking to the east wall and continuing on to the west wall interspaced between the windows is the Way of the Cross. Fourteen plaster statues represent incidents during the procession to Calvary – our Lord’s final journey on this earth. Roman numerals designate each station and angel statues support each base.
(I) Jesus is condemned to death. (II) Jesus accepts his cross. (III) Jesus falls the first time. (IV) Jesus meets his mother. (V) Simon helps Jesus carry his cross. (VI) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. (VII) Jesus falls the second time. (VIII) Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem. (IX) Jesus falls the third time. (X) Jesus is stripped of his garments. (XI) Jesus is nailed to the cross. (XII), Jesus dies on the cross. (XIII) Jesus is taken down from the cross. (XIV) Jesus is placed in the tomb.
If you read the Passion narrative in Matthew (26-28), Mark (15-16), Luke (22-23) and John (18-20), you will “see” the stations in Scripture. From an early date, pilgrims to the Holy Land would sit in these places (or stations) and follow in the footsteps of our Lord on His way to Calvary. In the later Middle Ages (15th Century) the devotional Way of the Cross was made popular, especially by the Franciscans. This enabled those who could not afford the rigors and expense of a long pilgrimage to the Holy Land to participate in the custom in their own village.
You have seen many representations of angels in this church. Catholics consider angels to be spiritual messengers of God whose appearances are recorded in the Old and New Testaments.
As you stand at the center of the sanctuary and face north, you have a good view of the stations and of the stained glass windows. One of the historical functions of stained glass windows, in addition to bathing the Assembly area with their beautiful light, was to illustrate the stories of the Bible for those who could not read or afford expensive manuscripts. More than teaching, their artistic beauty reveals to us something of the beauty of God and God’s dreams for us.
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven – At St. Mary the windows have a fascinating history. Facing north toward Cherry Street you see The Assumption of Mary into Heaven. This is stained glass in the Munich style made in Regensburg, Germany, for Assumption Catholic Church of Evansville, Indiana, sometime between 1873, when the church was completed, and 1893. The actual window measures 16’9 ¾ high and 8’wide. Inscribed in the glass on the reverse side is Royal Bavarian Court Art Glass Painting – Georg Schneider, Regensburg. The three glass panels above the window were produced by Mominee Studios, Evansville, in 2008.
Assumption Catholic Church, founded in 1837, was the first Catholic parish formed in Evansville and the fourth parish founded after the Diocese of Vincennes was established in 1834. This window is from the second Assumption church, begun in 1871 and finished in 1873. The Catholic Diocese of Evansville, established in 1944, sold the property to the City of Evansville in 1965 and the church edifice was razed. The Diocese gave this window to the Evansville Museum. In the 42 years it was in the custody of the museum, many options were considered about how best to use or display this magnificent work of visual art. Because of its size and the need for extensive restoration, no solution was found until the summer of 2007.
With the removal of the organ loft in the 2007 refurbishment a large space was uncovered on the south wall of the bell tower. Mary McNamee Bower, Curator of Collections at the Evansville Museum since 1978 and a 30 year parishioner at St. Mary, suggested the window be placed there.
Funding was approved by the Parish Pastoral Council and a formal request was made to the museum. On August 22, 2007, the eve of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, assured that this treasure would be properly restored and displayed, the Board of Trustees of the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science unanimously voted to return this artifact to the Catholic Diocese of Evansville through St. Mary Church.
The Latin inscription is an antiphon taken from the Divine Office for Vespers on the Solemnity of the Assumption. In English translation it reads: Mary is assumed into heaven The angels rejoice; praising, they bless the Lord The windows on the east and west side of the church depict the life of Christ and were designed and produced by the Emil Frei Studios, St. Louis, in 1941. They are popularly called the Rosary Windows and were made to replace the 1880 windows lost in the fire after the flood of 1937. Each window bears the name of the donor, and of the donors of the earlier windows.
Every major event in the life of Christ is shown in these windows, and is meant to be reflected on while praying the Rosary. The Rosary is a prayer that leads one through Mary to Jesus, the source of all grace. Historians trace the origin of the rosary as we know it today back to the so called Dark Ages of ninth century Ireland. In those days, as is still true today, the 150 Psalms of David were essential to form monastic prayer.
Monks recited or chanted the Psalms day after day as a major source of inspiration. The people who lived near the monasteries could see the beauty of this devotion, but because very few people outside the monasteries knew how to read in those days, and because the 150 Psalms are too long to memorize, the lay people were unable to adapt this form of prayer for their own use. Sometime around 800 A.D. Irish monks suggested to the people that they might like to pray a series of 150 Our Fathers in place of the 150 Psalms. At first the prayers were counted by using 150 pebbles to mark each prayer. This gradually advanced to ropes with knots for each prayer and then pieces of wood on a string. Over hundreds of years it evolved into a chain with beads and 10 Hail Marys (a decade) were interspaced with one Our Father per decade. When it numbered 50 instead of 150 it was called a “rosarium” or bouquet. By 1470 the rosary was said with a special thought about the life of Christ for each bead. This was promoted as the Rosary of St. Dominic (1171-1221) and called a Scriptural Rosary.
15 The 3 sets of mysteries to be contemplated are:
Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
- Visitation (Luke 1:39-56)
- Nativity (Luke 2:1-20)
- Presentation (Luke 2:22-40)
- Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
- Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:39-46)
- Scourging at the Pillar (Luke 23:1-16), (John 19:1-16)
- Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-31), (John 19:1-16)
- Carrying of the Cross (John 19:16b-22)
- Crucifixion (Luke 23:33-55), (John 19:23-37)
- Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12) (Matthew 28:1-15)
- Ascension (Acts 1:6-12)
- Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-4)
- Assumption of Mary into Heaven (Psalm 45:11-16)
- Coronation of Mary in Heaven (Song of Songs 6:10)
Look to the first window on the west side of the church:
Annunciation – The Blessed Virgin and Angel Gabriel. “Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28) “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.” (Luke 1:35)
Visitation – Mary and Elizabeth and Zechariah. “Mary set out at that time and went to the hill country. And she went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.” (Luke (1:39,40)
Nativity – Infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph. “And she gave birth to a son, her firstborn, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes.” (Luke 2:7) “Observing the Law of Moses, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” (Luke 2:22). “Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man.” (Luke 2:25)
Christ in the Temple – Jesus, Mary and Joseph and in the background people in the temple. “When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.” (Luke 2:41,42) “When they were on their way home the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it.” (Luke 2:43) “They went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere. Three days later, they found him in the temple.” (Luke2:45,46) “He was sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:46)
Agony in the Garden – Christ praying in the Garden of Olives. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine. Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength. In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly. And his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:42-44)
Scourging at the Pillar – Jesus and the people scourging him. “So I shall have him flogged and then let him go.”(Luke 23:16) “Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged.” (John 19:1)
Crowning with Thorns – Jesus and the people crowning him. “And having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and placed a reed in his right hand. To make fun of him they knelt to him saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!'” (Matthew 27:29)
At the far right side of the Church, near the doors, are two of the Angel windows, “Come Let Us Adore” and “Give Thanks to God.” When you cross to the opposite side of the building, you will find corresponding windows, “Lord Have Mercy” and “God Bless Us.”
Continuing to the east side of the church:
Jesus Carries the Cross – “Jesus was led away, and carrying the cross by himself, went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew “Golgotha.” (John19:16b-17)
The Crucifixion – “When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.'(Luke 23:33,34)
The Resurrection – “At the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared.” (Luke 24:1) “…he is not here. He has been raised, exactly as he promised.” (Matthew 28:6)
The Ascension – “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” (Matthew 28:20) “As he said this he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
Pentecost – “Suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house. And something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak about the marvels of God.” (Acts 2:2-4)
The Assumption – Mary is bodily assumed into heaven. “With jewels set in gold, and dressed in brocades, the king’s daughter is led in to the king.” (Psalm 45:14)
The Coronation – The crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven – “Who is this arising like the dawn, fair as the moon, resplendent as the sun?” (Song of Songs 6:10)
Mary giving a rosary to St. Dominic –
St. Anne – In the north west corner of the church you will see a statue of St. Anne, Mary’s mother, with Mary as a child.
Infant of Prague – Here also, is a smaller statue. This is the Infant of Prague, the title used by the Church and the faithful to honor and glorify the Divine Infancy of Jesus Christ. A statue of the Infant of Prague was first made in Spain for a royal family. One appeared on the European scene in the late 17th century. During the throes of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) the city of Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) was the scene of desolation. It was a place where the conflict of religious, cultural, political, and economic interests had reached its height. The devotion to the Little Infant of Prague flourished and spread throughout the world. It was characterized by the motto: “The more you honor the Infant Jesus the more he will bless you.”
St. Anthony of Padua – St. Anthony of Padua, Italy (1195-1231) is the next statue. The rule of St. Anthony’s life was the Gospel’s call to leave everything and follow Christ. He entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors, but an illness prevented him from achieving this goal. He returned to Italy and spent his time reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks. When asked to speak at an ordination where no one had prepared a talk, the humble and obedient Anthony hesitantly accepted the task, and astounded everyone with his eloquence. He is portrayed with the Christ Child because of his deep love for the Infant Jesus.
Our Lady of Lady of Lourdes – On the north east side of the church you find the replica of the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. A statue of St. Bernardette Soubirous kneeling is in front. The actual shrine is in Lourdes, France, where in 1858 Our Lady appeared to Bernardette. Bernardette, a poor asthmatic girl, was 14 when she witnessed a series of apparitions. Bernardette was asked to dig in the dirt, where water began flowing. The stream continues to flow. Many have traveled to Lourdes to be washed in the water, and many cures have been reported. She joined the Sisters of Charity in Nevers, France, at age 22 and took her final vows in 1878 when she was 34. She died a year later, and was canonized in 1933. A youngster who had been cured at the waters attended the canonization ceremony.
The marble railing here formerly was part of the Communion railing. Before Vatican II the Communion railing separated the sanctuary from the rest of the church, and people knelt at the railing to receive Holy Communion.
Kateri Tekawitha – On the left, is a statue of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680). Kateri was a child of an Algonquin woman and a Mohawk chief. She was orphaned, half blind, scarred by illness and not appreciated in her own world. Today she remains a symbol of reconciliation. She was baptized by Catholic missionary Jacques de Lambervillein in 1675. Because she became a Christian she was forced by the hostility of the tribe to leave the United States and live among Christians in Canada. She led a life of great austerity until her death at age 24.
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus – On the right is a statue of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (1873-1897). She was a Carmelite nun in Lisieux, France, and was affectionately called the Little Flower because of her simple love of God. She said she came to the convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” Shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” Born of wealth, Therese Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul is read and loved throughout the world.
St. Jude – St. Jude’s statue is next. Not much is known about him except that he was an apostle and probably worked in Persia preaching the Gospel. (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13) In Matthew and Mark’s Gospel, Jude is referred to as Thaddaeus. Often he is called St. Jude Thaddaeus. You see on his head a symbol of fire of the Holy Spirit. There is devotion to St. Jude as the saint of the impossible.
Our Lady of Guadalupe – The framed picture is of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a poor Indian from Mexico City was surprised on his way to Mass to see a vision of Our Lady on Tepayac Hill, three miles north of the city. She spoke in the native Indian language asking him to build a Church in her honor. For 30 years the Spanish had plundered, raped, and enslaved the Indians. They tried to root out their language and culture. Mary gave to Juan Diego the Indian name Tecoatlaxopeuh which in Spanish is “de Guadalupe”. When Juan Diego asked for a sign to prove her appearance to church officials, Our Lady told him to climb the hill where he had first seen her and to gather roses. In spite of the winter weather and the barrenness, he found fragrant roses and was advised to show them to the bishop, which he did, carrying the roses in his tilma (cape). When he saw the bishop he opened his tilma to allow the roses to spill out. Imprinted on the tilma was the image of Mary that you see replicated here. Once a scorned Indian, Juan Diego became a missionary to the Spaniards. His beatification is still pending.
Catholics honor saints as heroes. A canonized saint is a person who is officially recognized by the Church as someone who now “shares in the glory” with Almighty God. The word saint comes from the Latin word sanctus, meaning holy. Many saints are martyrs who died for a holy cause. Many achieve sainthood because they played a major role in the history of religion. To become canonized, the subject must have his or her life and works, along with any miracles purported to have been due to the subject’s intervention, strictly examined by a church appointed commission. If the investigation produces enough evidence, the person is eligible for beatification. That is, he or she may officially be declared “blessed.” If further investigation produces proof of two miracles associated with the person, he or she may be canonized a saint. You have now completed the tour, and we thank you for your visit and for your interest. You are always welcome. Please come back.