ENTRANCE TO THE CHURCH
One of the important aspects of the Vatican II vision is that of community. The very layout of the facility and its design demands that all who enter do so through one main entrance. Although there are other entrances, they are less accessible and not as prominent as the main entrance to the building. The building invites you to gather. A parish is a community of believers.
Everything that goes on in a parish, be it worship, education, social function, or even business, is premised on community, that we are church. One cannot enter or leave the building without being reminded of that; the building seems to say, "Before you do anything in here, gather, be community." This is emphasized even more in the worship space. The only access to the worship space is through the Gathering Space; people must come together-in order to gain access to the worship space.
PROCESSIONAL CROSS AND CANDLES
The processional cross and candles are found directly ahead of the main entrance doors to the building--there is no permanent cross or crucifix in the worship space. The central mystery of faith of Christianity is the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Anytime the community gathers, be it for the celebration of Eucharist or some other prayer service, the service begins with the cross being carried into the midst of the community and placed prominently in the altar area. Once the community has gathered and moved into the worship space, bringing the cross through and into a central place calls us to come together not just socially, but in faith. It is our belief in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus that forms the common bond among those now gathered to join in prayer. We have two processional crosses: one for Ordinary Time and one for festive days or seasons. Depending on when you come, you will find one or other of these crosses.
THE GATHERING SPACE
The feel of the Gathering Space is one which invites you to linger and interact. St. Thomas Aquinas is famous for a basic religious principle. It says simply, "Grace builds on nature." This principle suggests that we cannot expect to be a spiritual or faith community until we first are simply a human community. We need to be a healthy community of people before we move into the space where we wish to become a faith community.
The Gathering Space primarily serves to bring the community together before worship. However, the space is well utilized for a variety of other functions, all related to its primary purpose. For example, meetings and smaller social gatherings can easily be accommodated in this space. As the community builds up a memory of a variety of such functions, they become a part of the appointments of the space and should enhance its capacity to help us gather.
Off the east end of the Gathering Space, you will find a set of double doors leading into the Parish Hall. This Hall is at present only about half its originally intended size and may be expanded as finances allow. The Hall can accommodate a variety of parish social gatherings and educational programs. However, by using portable partitions, the space can also be divided into seven classroom spaces for the religious education program. A small kitchenette is available for minimal food service. A full commercial kitchen can be added when the parish is able to extend the Hall to full size. The other space off the Hall is simply a large storage room for tables, chairs, portable partitions, etc.
NURSERY AND CRY ROOM
Returning to the Gathering Space and continuing down the east corridor, the first door on your right will be the entrance to the Nursery and Cry Room. When you first enter, you are in the Nursery. By continuing further into the room, you will find the door leading into the Cry Room. The Cry Room will provide parents with infants the opportunity to attend mass while taking care of their infants. A large window looks out into the main worship space. The floor in the Cry Room has been raised about a foot above the floor level of the rest of the building in order that those who are in the Cry Room will still have clear visibility to the altar area. Sound from the main worship space is also piped into the Cry Room.
Opposite the Word of God Chapel, is the doorway to the Administration Area. All the administrative facilities are clustered in this area. You will see the secretary/receptionist area first. However, if you walk through, you will find two conference/meeting rooms, one larger and one smaller, a workroom for the office equipment, a small individual office, two rest rooms (one handicapped equipped), and the pastor's office.