Inspiration for the design comes from the sixth-century church of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy which was built during the papacy of Gregory the Great, patron saint of Portsmouth. In addition to the church, noted modern architect Pietro Belluschi designed all the buildings in the upper campus.
The fieldstone walls were quarried from land next to our property. The redwood used inside and out, laminated arches, stained-glass for subdued illumination, and stress on simplicity, are hallmarks of Belluschi churches.
Entering the nave through stained-glass doors, the focal point is the limestone altar, carved by distinguished sculptor John Benson, one of the first members of the School’s faculty. On the front side is a bas-relief of a triumphant lamb, bearing a banner of victory. Directly above the altar to emphasize the sacrificial element of the Mass is the wire sculpture “The Trinity.” This piece was created by Richard Lippold whose work is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art.
Of particular note, the golden wires radiating from the crucified Jesus to the ceiling of the nave represent the Holy Spirit reaching out to the four corners of the world. The silver wires descending from the skylight symbolize the Father’s approval of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross: ”This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.”
The Church is both simple and spectacular.
Homily for Ascension Day 2012
Homily for XIV Sunday of Ordinary Time 2012
Homily for XXIII Sunday of Ordinary Time 2012
Homily for XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time 10/21/2012