TRUMBULL—The Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena (220 Shelton Road, Trumbull) joyfully announces the completion of its sanctuary beautification project, called Christ at the Center. A Mass of Dedication with Consecration of the Church will be celebrated on Sunday, March 24, at 2 pm. The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, will serve as principal celebrant.
“I’m excited that the architect for this project is Duncan Stroik,” shares Father Joseph Marcello, Pastor of the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena. “Mr. Stroik is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the publisher of Sacred Architecture magazine. Professor Stroik is truly the leader in the field of ecclesiastical architecture in the United States, if not the world, and with him, we’ve arrived at a design which I think is truly beautiful and timeless, which both looks fresh, and also looks like it’s always been here: a design which will stand for the ages, to give glory to God, and to help us to pray, both now, and for all our future generations.”
The culmination of thousands of hours of planning, designing, building and praying, this project relocates the tabernacle containing Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament from the side chapel to the very center of the sanctuary, and significantly enhances the sanctuary of the church by prominently featuring the statues of Our Lady and St. Joseph, and of St. Catherine of Siena, our patron saint, and St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, before us as models and intercessors.
The project also provides a new Altar of Sacrifice, which visibly contains a relic of St. Catherine of Siena – an actual piece of bone taken from her body. It places a magnificent new retablo, or high altar, to fill the space of the sanctuary wall, modeled on the altar which contains the icon of Our Lady, Health of the Roman People, Salus Populi Romani, at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.
“Our goal,” says Father Marcello, “has been to fill the sanctuary with beauty, and with layers of meaning, which is a manifestation of our faith, and gives glory to God; provides a noble and beautiful space in which to pray, and makes it easier to teach the Faith to our children and grandchildren – and all in a way in keeping with the already-existing architecture of our church. We are thrilled that the finished product looks so “right,” like it’s always been there.”
Several existing elements in the church have been repurposed, including the corpus of the crucified Christ and the statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and St. Catherine of Siena. The dove of the Holy Spirit, which hung above the door of the narthex, has been relocated into the sanctuary, where it was in the church’s original design.
The Church’s side chapel is now a Memorial Chapel, a special place of prayer for the faithful departed. The church’s former altar has been relocated there, where it fits perfectly. Above the altar in the Memorial Chapel is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which was given to the parish at its founding. The statue has been beautifully polychromed, and situated within a mahogany triptych frame above the altar.
The flags of our country, our state, and the armed forces now hang from the rafters of the side chapel to remember and honor the servicemen and women, police officers, and first responders from our parish and from our families who have given their lives defending our freedom. The Memorial Chapel contains a memorial book recording the name of every person whose funeral has been celebrated at St. Catherine’s since its founding in 1955. The chapel also houses a beautiful mosaic of Our Lady, and which hangs as a memorial to children who have died before their birth. It features two devotional candle stands, a much requested addition to the church, so people can offer a prayer before the statue of the Sacred Heart, and leave a candle burning there.
Father Marcello concludes, “We’ve called it “Christ at the Center” because, above all, each one of us needs always to grow in our understanding that Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, of our families, and of the life of our parish. Locating the tabernacle which contains Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at the center of our sanctuary is an important and very consequential reflection of that.”
The Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena warmly welcomes anyone who is new to our area, anyone who is searching for the truth, or anyone who is looking for a spiritual home. We are joyfully and faithfully Roman Catholic in belief and practice – a community of faith, worship, service, and formation – and with open hearts we invite all our brothers and sisters into a living and saving friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in the communion of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are conveniently located at 220 Shelton Road in the Nichols area of Trumbull.