The Sanctuary


The oblique vaults are painted in Iberian colors of terra cotta, yellow ocher, and blue and highlighted by gold leaf rosettes. The warm red reflects the Spanish Rojo Alicante marble of the apse wall. Since earliest times, a dome has symbolized the overarching sky, and here, at its apex, a gold-and-silver-leafed sunburst represents the all-encompassing providence of God. 

The sculpture in the sanctuary is an aesthetic representation of Church liturgy and tradition. To the left of the altar is the episcopal throne incorporated with a canopy of carved oakwood. The cathedral of a diocese is so-called because it houses the bishop's chair, or Cathedra. Like the altar, the throne and sanctuary-encircling wainscoting were designed by Kimball. A close look at the wood reveals intricate carving and many whimsical heads half-concealed in the foliated designs of the stiles. Enshrined in niches along the curving apse wall are statues of eleven apostles designed by Polasek. He carved the figures of John, Andrew, Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, but a stroke left him unable to complete the fraternity. The remaining statues--James the Greater, James the Lesser, Philip, Matthias, Jude, and Simon--were carved by sculptor William Hoppe.

On the right in the sanctuary is the ambo where the Word of God is proclaimed. Surrounding the ambo, which was designed by Kimball, are the statues of six great doctors of the church. All the figures were designed and carved in South American mahogany by Polasek. Left to right: Saint Peter, holding the keys of the kingdom and a fisherman's net; Saint Paul, with letters, as a warrior of the Lord; Saint Jerome, with pen and book, who translated the Bible into Latin; Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, with staff and whip, who was a great orator, teacher, and theologian; Saint Pope Gregory the Great, with dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit, who introduced the Gregorian chant; Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, with staff and book, who formalized many doctrines of the church.


~The Beauty of Thy House, 2005