The design of our church was inspired by the churches and architecture of Assisi, the home of St. Francis.
That design includes such architectural details as small round windows at the peak of the worship center; the use of banding on various levels of the stone for the outside and inside of the building; the inclusion of a bell tower and courtyard; and the use of stone and wood as primary building materials. The small bell gate marking the south entrance to the Gathering Space contains a rock from Assisi brought back to the parish by Fr. Steve Orr after a visit to the Italian city. In addition to the church, our campus includes a Pre-School, K-8 School, Parish Hall, administrative offices, and multiple meeting rooms.
It’s in the Details
The worship center is octagonal. Eleven rows of pews with seating for 1,000 surround a central raised altar that creates a sense of congregational community. Behind the altar is seating for a 60-person choir as well as space for instruments. The Reconciliation chapel is at the base of the tower and is accessible from the worship center. A cross-shaped roof, supported by four large columns, rests over the worship area.
The windows in the Blessed Sacrament chapel illustrate the Gospel through the symbol of a grain of wheat: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it cannot bear fruit.” (John 12:24). This concept of Christ’s total gift of self in his death on the cross is central to the notion of Franciscan poverty resulting in “simple joy”. It is expressed in these three windows by the grain of wheat springing out of the earth, the wheat ready for harvest, and the harvested wheat.
Other Franciscan symbols and references used in the worship center include the “burning sun and silver moon” referenced in St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun and is painted on the ceiling of the cupola. The canticle itself is inscribed on the bulkhead surrounding the worship center. Portions of the ceiling above the worship area, painted deep cobalt blue with gold leaf stars, and the border recall the brilliant fresco ceilings of the Basilica in Assisi.
As you enter the worship center from the Gathering Space, you see the rock, of carnelian granite, which designates the baptismal pool. Blessing ourselves with the holy water brings to mind our baptismal commitment and reminds us that Baptism is our entrance into the Church.
The altar and ambo are made of the same carnelian granite as the rock of the baptismal pool, linking the celebration of Baptism with the proclamation of God’s word in the Sacred Scriptures and the celebration of the Eucharist.
Our worship center features a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle. The sacrament is reserved to be taken to the sick. It is also a place where we may come for quiet prayer and meditation (outside of times when Mass is being celebrated) to spend time in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. A sanctuary lamp burns continuously near the tabernacle indicating the Lord’s presence.
Our most prominent icon is the San Damiano cross, which hangs above the altar. This is a replica of the icon cross which hangs in Santa Chiarra (St. Clare) Church in Assisi.