The apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes has been described as “a dialogue between Heaven and earth,” and this year, the celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes’s feast at Scottsdale Arizona’s St. Bernadette Catholic Church may have provided an artistic glimpse of that.
The previously plain interior of the church is now beautified with exquisite murals, resplendent stained-glass windows, adored panels and a pipe organ containing 3,000 pipes and considered as the biggest pipe organ in Arizona.
The National Catholic Register reports:
The high, barrel-vaulted ceiling, formerly white, is now adorned with eight magnificent murals separated by decorative ribs. These scenes depicting the life of the Blessed Mother and her Son Jesus become the theme. Beginning with the Annunciation, biblical events unfold chronologically through the Visitation, portraying the love shared by Mary and Elizabeth, then on to the Espousals of Mary and Joseph, the Nativity, Presentation, Flight Into Egypt, Wedding at Cana, and finally Mary at the Cross.
“For a parish under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette, this seems appropriate,” Father Kline explained to his flock. “Our devotion to Mary leads to worship of Christ, and that’s the theme of these murals.”
To enhance the beauty of the sacred art, on either side of the murals, the ceiling includes framed panels of azure blue sky, complete with stars. Below them are deeply arched clerestory windows, their once-clear windows now replaced with new stained-glass images of the apostles and archangels appearing in traditional artistic designs that echo timeless beauty of past decades.
The purpose of the beautiful stained glass through the church is to raise minds and hearts to Christ, Father Kline explained to the Register. He believes this traditional artistry will inspire devotion and enhance the liturgy: “The new windows will bring a deeper sense of the transcendent beauty of God.”
While planning the renovation, the Rev. Don Kline, the church’s pastor, wanted the church interior to be transformed in such a way that it would generate feelings of holiness and veneration in the heart of the worshipers.
Last year, when the renovation was planned and underway, Father Kline made clear the goal was “to provide a worship space that speaks of God’s glory and inspires a person to a sense of holiness and reverence from the moment one walks in. Why? Ultimately, to lead to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. That relationship, then, leads to a greater commitment to Christian service and being a disciple.”
He explained the Church’s ancient tradition believes the church edifice should represent the truth, goodness and beauty of God. “The architecture, the furnishings, the art and the very ambiance should both represent the kingdom of God and draw us into the great meeting of heaven and earth that is at the heart of the Mass. … The ultimate goal of this renovation is to be inspired to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”
Kline attributed the provision of the ideas and details of the church’s transformation to Our Lady of Lourdes herself.
Asked who was responsible for the details of the renovation, without hesitation Father Kline said that it was “Our Lady’s idea: ‘I want it to be this way.’ That’s how all this happened. It’s such an inspired work of the Holy Spirit, Our Lady and the saints,” he added of the overall reverence.
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