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St. Patrick Catholic Church
Art & Architecture at St. Patrick

St. Patrick is home to a rich collection of beautiful art and architecture. Many of the pieces remain to this day. This page breaks down the various images found throughout the church. The nave and sanctuary of the church were decorated to represent the humanity and divinity of Christ respectively.

The Arch Over the Altar

The murals in the arch are surrounded by a depiction of a balsam tree which is known for its healing qualities. It is used here as a symbol of Christ’s Divine Nature because Our Lord, through his heavenly Grace, heals man of all spiritual diseases.

Above the murals and balsam tree is a geometric arrangement of stars and the sun and the moon, representing the splendor of the Heavens.

The Resurrection

This depiction of Jesus' Resurrection is located above the ambo on the left side of the archway when facing the altar.

One of the inscriptions in the archways refers to this image:

“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL LIVE”

The Holy Trinity

Found at the apex of the arch above the altar is this depiction of the Holy Trinity. The hand is a symbol of God the Father. The fish is a symbol of Christ, and the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The circle encompassing all three symbols represents eternity.

This depiction of Jesus' Assumption is found on the right side of the archway when facing the altar.

One of the inscriptions in the archways refers to this image:

“I ASCEND TO MY FATHER AND TO YOUR FATHER TO MY GOD AND YOUR GOD”

Emblems from Christ's Life

In the nave of the church, you can find these painted emblems representing scenes from Christ's life in the archways over the stained glass windows. The nave of the church was decorated to represent Christ's humanity.

Birth of Christ

This emblem is found above Mary’s altar. The creche with halo, crown, and banner all signify the birth of Christ in a manger. The eight-pointed star symbolizes regeneration.

Adoration of the Magi

The three gifts brought to Our Lord are symbolized by the jewelled crown (gold), the censor (frankincense), and the urn (myrrh).

The Presentation

The two doves in the basket are symbolic of the offering made when Our Lord was brought to the Temple.

Flight to Egypt

The pyramids and lotus flower are emblematic of Egypt, while the staff and pouch are symbols of St. Joseph leading Mary and the Christ Child into Egypt to safety.

Teaching in the Temple

The representation of the temple refers to the place where Mary and Joseph found the Boy Christ, while the oil lamp and book are symbolic of his great learning.

Jesus in the Carpenter Shop

The bench, vise, t-square, hammer and saw are all symbols of St. Joseph’s carpenter shop where Jesus worked with him.

Holy Family

The cross, symbolic of Christ, and the two lighted candles represent the Holy Family, as does the monogram JMJ (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph).

Death of St. Joseph

The chi-rho (XP) is a symbol of Christ, who was present at the death of St. Joseph. Mary is represented by the erect lily, while St. Joseph is represented by the drooping lily. The candle and oil container are symbols of the sacrament of Annointing of the Sick/Last Rites.

The Sermon on the Mount

The mountain in the background refers to the location of the sermon. The oil lamp and scroll again refer to Christ’s knowledge and teaching of the word of God.

The Agony in the Garden

The rocks are a symbol of the Garden of Gethsemane, while the hands in prayer and the chalice refer to Christ’s supplication: “Remove this chalice from me; but not what I will but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36). The lantern is symbolic of the people who sought Jesus in the garden.

Judas Betrays Jesus

The money bag refers to the thirty pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed Christ. The hangman’s noose is symbolic of Judas’ death.

Peter's Denial

The cock refers to the prediction Christ made to St. Peter: “Before the cock crows thou shalt have denied me thrice.” The inverted cross is a symbol of the manner of St. Peter’s death.

Christ Before Pontius Pilate

The hands, ewer, and water are symbolic of the words uttered by Pontius Pilate when washing his hands: “I am innocent of the blood of this just Man.”

The Scourging

The scourge and hands tied to a pillar refer to the scourging which Christ endured before his death.

Casting Lots for Christ's Coat

The white cloak and dice are symbols depicting the fact that the soldiers cast lots for his clothing prior to his death.

Death of Jesus

The thorns, spear, cross, and shroud are all sumbols depcting Our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross. The two smaller crosses refer to the two thieves who were crucified on either side of Christ.

Stained Glass

12 of the stained glass windows found in the nave of the church contain a representation of the 12 apostles.

Stations of the Cross

Station 12, Jesus dies on the cross.

The stations found throughout the nave are made of Venetian mosaic, and each is comprised of approximately 30,000 pieces. The figures are in three shades of gold under glass mosaic, white, green, and yellow. The background for the figures is of varied ruby and red mosaics.

The Sanctuary Dome

The entire dome of the sanctuary, with the exception of the massive proscenium arch, is of European antique glass, comprising five pannels. The Holy Spirit and the hands of God are portrayed in the center panel, directly over the main altar. The other four panels contain the authorized symbols of the four Evangelists: Matthew (an angel), Mark (a lion), Luke (an ox), and John (an eagle).

    St. Patrick Catholic Church
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52405
    319.362.7966