The lobby at the main entrance of the church is called a narthex. A narthex is an architectural element typical of early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and located opposite the church’s main altar. Traditionally the narthex was a part of the physical church, but was not considered part of the church proper.
Take a few moments to read the plaques as you enter or leave church. These plaques are a reminder of people and families who have contributed to our church in many different ways. The plaques are:
- Exceptional service to the parish award plaques are to the left of the main church entry doors: One is for Maria Ruf. The other honors Marion Venetucci, Francis Ostertag, BettyMaslauska. Rose T. Maloff, and Kevin Keating.
- Significant contributions to church improvements are to the right of the main church entry doors: New kneelers (Dominic Carfagno), New Floor (Memory of Fred and Eleanor Schweiger), and Religious Education (Elizabeth A. Larkin.
- The Knights of Columbus Honor roll plaque is by the left (south) church entry door. It contains 38 names of deceased members of the Father Setters Council No. 1278, 4th
- Donors to the Stations of the Cross plaque is next to the right (north) church entry door.
- The Archdiocese Project Renewal donors are located next to the staircase to the right of the choir loft stairs.
- New Organ donors’ plaque is located by the left (south) choir stairs.
- The wash room has a plaque noting the improvement by the FIL-AM group in 2014.
- The Schulmerich Handbells, donated by the Farina Family, plaque is next to the narthex main entry doors. The memorial is for John and Carmella Farina, their daughters Genevieve (Jean), Mary Elaine, and all deceased members of the Farina family.
At the left (south side) of the narthex is a room used for both brides and ushers. At the far right, by the north entry door, is the washroom. Tucked into the corner by the north choir stairs is a holy water dispenser. Parishioners can refill their small, personal containers at this font.
The tables between the church entry doors hold information about parish projects and Catholic newspapers.
Bulletin boards on the front and back walls hold information on Catholic church initiatives. Benches are available for parishioners to visit after mass.
The Choir Loft
The present choir loft, at the rear of the church, was originally a balcony that could hold about 100 people. It consisted of the pews and a large cabinet that contained the amplifier and speakers for the organ.
The first organ and choir were located behind the large crucifix behind the altar. The organ did not contain any pipes, reeds, or winds. The musical tones it produced were created in the form of tiny electrical currents controlled by the organist. Wires carried the tones to amplifiers and speakers which converted them to the sounds heard. The first organ was purchased by Pastor Wagener and Father Wilhelm in 1938, prior to the current church being built.
The current organ was purchased after a parish drive raised $40,000. Renovations were made to the choir loft, which included the removal of the pews. This organ was made by the Rodgers Organ Company. The three manual, 75-rank organ was dedicated in a recital on February 28, 1982.
Father Fearon dedicating new organ Director Dave Strutzel rehearsing choir
Look up at the ceiling in the church. The wooden beams, known as trusses, are the structural frames supporting the roof of our church. These trusses, which weigh 14 tons, contain many Christian symbols.
The beams connected to the walls have emblems of the twelve apostles.
The cross beams hold ten different symbols of the church.
Stained Glass windows – Main Church
The stained-glass windows were purchased from Karl Hackert, Inc., a Chicago firm that designed stained glass windows, altars, and mosaics for churches. At the back of the church, over the choir loft, is a large rose window. The rest of the windows in the main church are very similar – there is the ‘outer trim’, the dedication at the bottom, and then the ‘frame’ around the picture.
The outer trim has a standard part, used in each of the windows, and unique church symbols. The standard part includes the symbols for the cross, a sea shell (Baptism), an eight-point star (Baptism), and the ram’s horns over a column (protection). There are seven ‘unique symbols on each window; one is at the top of the window, with the remaining six on each side, under the 1st, 3rd, and 5th cross bars. The meaning of many of these symbols are well known, such as the dove for peace, the shamrock for the Holy Trinity, and the host and chalice for the Holy Eucharist. Some are other symbols that may be less well known are:
- The bees/bee hives are symbols of the Church, wisdom, and virginity. Bees, like the clergy and religious men and women in the Church, work unceasingly for the common good of the hive and obey without question their superiors, and above all their queen.
- The Churches and Cathedral represents God being our refuge.
- The eye (in a pyramid) is the “all-seeing eye” of God the Father, the all-knowing and ever-present God.
- The harp symbolizes music, instruments, joy and worship in praising God.
- The pelican represents atonement and the Redeemer.
- The rooster symbolizes a sinner’s acceptance of divine pardon through Jesus Christ.
- Ten Commandments tablets represent God’s expectation for us.
Check each window and see how many symbols you recognize.
“Heaven” Rose Window Symbols on outer “frame”
The ‘frame’ around each picture, similar to the outer frame described last week, include some standard components and unique components. The ‘standard’ parts include three angels, one at the bottom of the picture and two at the top, two urns at the top, and a flame at the top. Underneath the flame (which represents the Holy Spirit) is a unique symbol. Some of the symbols are in the outer frame in other windows.
The pictures and the people who donated the windows (from the left (south) rear and going clock-wise around the church) are:
- Francis of Assisi – Gift of Michael Cremonsi Family
- The Death of St. Joseph – donated by Mary and Rose Shannon in Memory of Nicholas and Margaret Shannon
- Jesus Visiting the Temple – Donated by the Holy Name Society
- The Holy Family – Gift of William & Estelle Curran
- The Nativity – Gift of Mrs. Henry F. Nehls in memory of her husband
- The Annunciation – Gift of Rev. John T. Wagener
- Our Blessed Lady’s presentation of the rosary to St. Dominic. – Gift of the Altar and Rosary Society.
- Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Margaret Alacoque – In Memory of the parents of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Metzger
- Pentecost – In Memory of Priscella J. Russell
- Jesus Blessing the Little Children – Gift of the School Children 1939-1940
- The Good Shepherd – Gift of a Parishioner
- Agony in the Garden – In Memory of John and Aimee Foote
- Keys of the Kingdom – In Memory of the Peter Troost Family
The Ornamental Tiles
Around the church runs a line of ornamental blue tiles. These frame the doorways and shrines and divides the wainscoting. Three distinct emblems or symbols are found in this tile.