The Architectural Meaning of the New Church
The Church has been designed to incorporate the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council (1963 – 1965). There is emphasis on communal worship and on the Eucharist as the central act of the Liturgy.
As you enter the church the first thing that meets your eye is the large cross suspended outside between two large beams. These beams focus your attention on the altar, the lectern and the cross, which remind you of the sacrifice of Calvary. On the altar the sacrifice of Calvary is re-enacted and the cross outside the window shows this sacrifice going out to the world, redeeming it. There is no figure on the cross, as Christ is now risen from the dead and is present in the world through his Spirit.
The massive granite slab that forms the altar (the table of the Eucharist) is supported by two apparent light supports. This is to give focus to the table of the Lord’s meal, rather than emphasising its supports. From a seated position, it gives the impression that the altar is floating on the ocean.
The tabernacle containing the consecrated hosts (Christ’s presence) is situated so that it can be seen and venerated from anywhere in the church.
The lectern (the table of the word) situated to the left of the altar is from where the word of God is read and preached.
The large windows with the vast panoramic view of God’s creation, depicts the church going out to the world, drawing people in to worship, and helping to raise up the mind and heart in prayer.
The benches are arranged in such a way, on a slightly sloped floor, to give the feeling of togetherness in community and closeness to the altar and the lectern (the sanctuary), the central place of worship. If you stand at the altar and look into the body of the church, you get the feeling that the circular walls embrace the whole congregation, folding them into a community.
You will notice that the main aisle is off centre. This is deliberately done so as the enable as many people as possible to be seated, as a community, directly in front of the sanctuary.
Colour scheme and design
The colour scheme is simple and soothing. It is the same on the inside and outside, so also is the rough plastering. This is to make you feel that although you are inside, you are one with the outside world in prayer and worship. The whole building is designed to give the best possible acoustics both for the spoken word and for the singing.
The bell tower with the extended beam running through it forms a cross.
Facade / Entrance
There is little emphasis on the facade, as in older churches. There is no great majestic entrance, in order to get away from the idea of the “triumphalistic church” a term that is no longer used since Vatican II Council. Instead the whole emphasis is on simplicity.
The open space outside the main door is for the people to gather together before and after the celebration of the Eucharist. The church as a Christian Community is important both inside and outside the church building.
Message from Cardinal Napier | Message from Fr Stuart Bate OMI | Forward: Professor Joy Brain | Introduction | A history of the St Francis Mission | Establishment of the Church at Fynnland | The Church at Wentworth | Centralisation of St Francis Xavier and Building of the New Church | The Building of the Parish Hall | The Building of the New Presbytery | The Building of the Wall of Remembrance | The Architectural meaning of the New Church | Your Church in Rhyme by Fr Andy Slowey | The Human Contribution to the Growth of the Parish | Groups and Organisations that have contributed to the Parish | Current Groups within the Parish | Local Vocations | Awards and Recognition | An Armchair tour of the Parish | The Shrine to Our Lady of Natal | Landholdings of the Catholic Church on the Bluff | A Portrait of the Life and Times of St Francis Xavier | Picture Gallery | Timeline of incidents of the Bluff Parish