SAINT MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH
NEW ENTRANCE ADDITION
The new Church entrance addition and ceremonial wood doors replace the original glass and metal storefront entry that was part of the church’s Narthex and Sanctuary addition, completed twenty years earlier in 1995.
Large granite pavers with staggered joints define the approach and walkway from the drop-off area to the entrance and through to the interior of the Narthex. The entrance is simple in its materials – wood and cast stone – but it has a richness and scale that comes from its form and details. Taking cues from the south wall of the existing Sanctuary, two piers of paneled cast stone carry the gable-form roof above and frame the wood and glass entrance below. A paneled cast stone lintel spans mid-way between the piers and includes the engraved Latin phrase: FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA (Thy Will Be Done). Above, the central element of the cross appears to be floating within the canted pediment wall behind. Behind the paneled cast stone piers below, two Sapele wood-clad walls define the entrance procession and are splayed at the ends, a suggestion or gesture of open-hands welcoming parishioners.
Integral to the design of the new entrance procession are two large ceremonial wood doors, each measuring 4-ft wide by 10-ft high and weighing over 500 lbs. each. The doors are made of Sapele wood with a distinctive figure, reminiscent and in the same family as mahogany, and are accented by oil-rubbed bronze hardware and two sculptural bronze bas-relief panels. The ceremonial doors are flanked by two wood and glass doors through which parishioners enter the Church. Glass transom windows span across the top of the doors, allowing the Narthex space inside to be infused with natural light. At night, the surrounding glass doors and windows radiate light through the evening hours, inviting people to enter the Church. The special and unique poise of Mary has been expressed and integrated within the ceremonial wood doors with two central features of sculpted bronze bas-relief panels depicting a scene of The Annunciation. Each bronze panel measures 2-ft wide by 5.5-ft high. Inspiration for the bronze panels came from Frederick James Shields’ painting The Annunciation, 1894. The overall composition of the figures and their gestures, the radiating light above, low stone wall and pavers below and the rocky desert landscape beyond, all help to move or carry the eye from one panel to the other, visually linking the two panels together as one. The well-known American figure sculptor Eugene Daub sculpted the bronze panels