Before and After: Holy Innocents in Long Beach, California

Harrison Design recently completed a major renovation of a Spanish Mission Revival church in Long Beach, California. In an all too familiar story, the church had been drastically remodelled in the 1970's and 1980's and, regrettably, there is no known documentation of the original interior. As such, the remodelled sanctuary is based upon a traditional sanctuary ordering as opposed to anything intended to explicitly replicate what had been in this church.

Harrison Design comments on the project:
Attention to architectural details and the use of appropriate materials reflect the local Spanish Colonial heritage. Devotional statues and paintings were integrated in niches throughout, including an exquisite Our Lady of Guadalupe, painted by a member of the parish. This 4,000 sq.ft. church embodies the Hispanic heritage of its community and parishioners; its modesty and authenticity contribute to its understated and elegant beauty.
The parish, liturgically, follows a very "Benedictine" model (as in, Pope Benedict XVI) with Masses in both the ancient and modern rites, as well as a primary Sunday Mass in Latin-English, with additional Masses also available in Spanish and English. The parish also, as you will no doubt infer from the sanctuary design, offers all its Masses ad orientem

With that in mind, let us take a look at the "before" coming from the 1970's and 80's renovations made to the church.


A pretty typical ordering from that period o fcourse, likely with some minor revisions along the way (such as the central tabernacle placement.


The after, of course, presents a clean, traditional sanctuary ordering. Gone is the rather curious backdrop in the sanctuary wall,  replaced by a neutral backdrop with statuary niches and sanctuary lamps and a Latin text taken from Matthew 2:18:which comes with reference to Herod's massacre of the children:  "A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and mourning."

As you will see, a classical counter-reformation style altar arrangement has been put in place and the altar itself includes a grille which appears to contain relics (or at least could) visible beneath -- a feature frequently found in European altars.  The entire arrangement appears to be of genuine, no faux, marble construction.

Here are some other details, including the beautiful baptistery.

For your reference, here is the exterior of the church building, better showing the church's Spanish Mission roots (and you will also see that a new work of art has also been installed above the main doors of the church). 

A beautiful and well conceived project. For more information, please visit Harrison Design's website or visit them on social media

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