Before and After: Blessed Sacrament Church in Newark, Ohio

Today I wanted to briefly share with readers another installment of our ever popular 'before and after' series of churches and their sanctuaries in particular. Under consideration today is Blessed Sacrament Church in Newark, Ohio.

This particular project was pursued by one of our advertising partners, William Heyer Architect, who many will know from his work on the much acclaimed restoration of the St. Turibus Chapel at the Pontifical College, Josephinum, located in Columbus, Ohio.

Let's dive right in.



This image is pulled from the internet and is slightly distorted but it will give you a better view of the altar rail which separates the nave and sanctuary

A few quick comments. First, the colour of the new chapel is certainly far more "timeless" in look and feel. You will note as well that the former pews have all been replaced by something more akin to that which is found in 19th century churches. Simple but tasteful.  Also removed was the carpeting that was found both in the sanctuary and up the central aisle, replaced now by tile work. This is not only more visually appealing, it will no doubt also help the musical acoustics of the church. As noted above already, an altar rail now separates the sanctuary from the nave.

As we proceed into the sanctuary itself, one will note how the high altar and reredos structure behind merge quite seamlessly. The new tabernacle is also quite splendid and pairs well with the high altar itself -- in fact, it looks as though the two could be easily merged, with some minor adjustments to the predella, into a classic non-freestanding arrangement if that were ever desired at some future point down the road. 

I am particularly pleased to see the sedilia arranged in its traditional manner. (It always strikes me as terribly odd that this not done more. Surely the altar should be the central point of focus for both laity and clergy alike, unifying them in their mutual focus?) 

I would also draw readers attention to the medallion and symbol of the Holy Spirit which is found directly above the sanctuary, encircled by the Latin words, "et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis" (and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us).

The stencilled patterns on the back wall are also worth noting. These are comprised of two symbols, the IHS monogram and the Eucharistic host and chalice. Wisely a very subtle colour differentiation was employed so as to not make the design too brash. However is remains noticeable and it is seemingly small details like these that can often make a church seem properly 'finished,' adding layers of visual interest to the overall design. 

By way of digression, I cannot help feel that there is something of a North American Jesuit mission influence that can be found in this design but this may purely be an incidental association on my part. Whatever the case, it strikes me as a very noble and worthy renovation that has turned what was a relatively unremarkable church and sanctuary into one that is noble, classic and memorable.

Congratulations to William Heyer Architect for the execution of this project and to the parish church of Blessed Sacrament in Newark, Ohio for commissioning it. 

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