Sanctuary Theme: the Heavenly Jerusalem

03-13-2022RenovationFr. Chris Axline

My dear parishioners,

How exciting that we’ll be starting renovations on our sanctuary tomorrow, March 14th! I know that this season of construction will include inconveniences for our community, and I thank you for your sacrifices while we beautify our sanctuary for the glory of the Risen Lord and the edification of our parish family. Over the next few months during this project, we will have weekend Masses in the hall (set up as a temporary sanctuary), with overflow seating outside. It’s a good idea to arrive early if you hope for indoor seating, and to bring your own chairs, sun protection, and water bottle if you’re sitting outside. Please be considerate of others in our temporary, pared-down space.

Daily Masses (8:00am Monday through Saturday) are taking place in our adoration chapel, and Confessions in the cry room (Holy Family room), with the line forming in the back of the hall.

I want to share a glimpse at what you will see when this sanctuary renovation is completed. The overall theme that unites all the aspects of our renovations is described in the book of Revelation: the Heavenly Jerusalem. First, we’ll have a white/gold marble sanctuary floor. White and gold are colors of innocence, new life, and divinity (think of Christ at the Transfiguration when He was seen in a dazzling white radiance). Marble has special significance and a unique property among stones. In the Greek language marble has the same root word as the sea. Light, when it hits marble, actually penetrates the surface and reflects back out, bringing with it the richness of the colors in the stone. This effect is similar to what happens when light hits and reflects off of water. A marble sanctuary calls back to the imagery of Genesis where God sends His Spirit over the waters and brings forth order from the sea, separating the water from the land. In the sanctuary and the liturgical context, this calls forth our recreation in the waters of Baptism, and the liturgical action wherein we are re-created by God’s grace to become a new creation and reminded of our eternal hope to be with Christ forever. Over the sanctuary, the ceiling will be painted in blue with gold stars; imagery which points us to Heaven and the union of Heaven and Earth that takes place during every Mass. Across the sanctuary, reminding us of our own call to holiness, will be a mural featuring several saints to whom there is a strong devotion from within our parish community.

From left to right: St. Peter, St. John the Baptist, St. Cecilia, and St. Mary Magdalene. Continuing on the other side: St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Vianney (of whom we also have a relic in our altar), St. Faustina Kowalska, and Pope St. John Paul the Great. Backdropping these saints are our own Superstition Mountains. Utilizing the local landscape amidst the saints is a reminder for us of the Great Commission of Matthew 28 and Pentecost (Acts 2): to go forth into the world to sanctify it and make disciples for Christ. You can see this on the rendering on our parish website. Look for the “Sanctuary Renovation Update” section as you scroll down the page.

I want to thank all of you for your ongoing support of this project and, in a special way, the teams that have assisted me in the planning and discernment of this endeavor: St. Mary Magdalene’s Pastoral and Finance Councils as well as my renovation team, affectionately dubbed the “SMM CTU (Church Transformation Unit).” Over the past year, we have encouraged many challenges and delays, but are determined to press forward despite the setbacks. Please continue to keep this project in your prayers as we now, finally, enter construction! I look forward to celebrating with you all in our new sanctuary that will reflect the mystery of the sacred in a more captivating way. The graces of our sacrifices will be abundant!