About Us - Church Tour

“Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
The church building has played a primary role in the Catholic liturgical tradition for centuries. The first Christians would have celebrated the Eucharist in one another’s homes and later in secret places for fear of persecution. However, after the legalization of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, church buildings began to play a significant role in the development of liturgical thought. The church building was understood not only as a gathering space for worship, but as the very symbol of the people of God, who, as individuals composed the Body of Christ, just as individual bricks compose a building. In one of his letters, Saint Peter makes this point clear by referring to the members of the church as living stones, and Jesus Christ as the cornerstone on which the entire edifice rests. In fact, the original name for the church building was the “domus ecclesiae,” meaning literally “the house of the church.” It was only for convenience that the building itself eventually became known as the “ecclesia” or “church.” Therefore, the Catholic liturgical tradition has always stressed the importance of the church building. Through a series of sacred rites, the Bishop consecrates the church as a place set aside solely for the worship of God, for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, among other things. Additionally, the church building rises among the houses and businesses of a neighborhood or city as a sign of the presence of God in the midst of a very busy world. Henri Nouwen, in his book, Clowning in Rome, points out that while church buildings often seem too large and empty, taking up too much room and seemingly inefficient in their usage, they are really meant to signify a sacred space where only God can dwell. A city without these “empty” spaces, according to Nouwen, would lose its very centeredness.

For more information on the theology of the church building, click here.

The construction of Saint Paul Church, designed in the Neo-Gothic style, was begun in 1928 and completed in 1933. The result is a breath-taking edifice, erected as the testament to the faith of the people of Edgewood. Now it stands as home to a parish family celebrating 100 years of mission and ministry. Every person who visits our beautiful parish church cannot help but be overtaken by the immensity of the building, and the careful attention paid to every detail. While many churches have been remodeled or renovated over time, Saint Paul’s has seen little changes to its interior design. Apart from the installation of a new altar in the 1960’s, to accommodate the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the sanctuary has remained virtually in tact as it was in 1933. The presider’s chair, credence table, kneelers, tabernacles and high altar candlesticks are all original to the church. Minor changes, such as the pulpit, the baptismal font, and the removal of the communion rail gate have been in the keeping with the overall design and architectural harmony of the building. The stained glass windows are some of the most beautiful in New England, and depict dozens of scenes from both the Old and New Testaments, and several saints and biblical figures. The pictures below are intended to introduce you to the beauty of our church, but they cannot take the place of an actual visit! Visitors are always welcome to tour our church and to worship with us. Please browse our site for information on service times and contact information. Enjoy the tour!

Church Exterior
A view of the Church from the Broad Street side. The front door of the Church faces East.

Church Profile
A view of the walk-way along the Broad Street side of the Church.

An imposing view of the tower from the front door.

Front Entrance
The front entrance to the Church, guarded by statues of Saint Peter (right) and Saint Paul (left). The door of a Church is not merely functional, it also has spiritual significance. It is reminiscent of Christ's words, "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture" (John 10:9). It is at the door of the Church that those to be baptized are met and welcomed into the family of God, and it is also at the door of the Church that the body of the deceased is greeted by the priest and sprinkled with holy water. The door of a church represents our passage of faith: from our pilgrimage in this world, with all its sufferings and trials, to the next world, where "God will be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Detail of Saint Paul
Detail of the statue of Saint Paul that greets visitors to our Church. Note the sword and the book he holds in his hands. The book contains Paul's Letters, and symbolizes the extensive writing that Paul engaged in throughout his ministry. The sword refers to a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews. While Paul most likely did not author this Epistle, it has long been associated with him and with his associates. Hebrews 4:12 reads: "Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart."

Church Interior #1
A view of the nave and sanctuary from the choir loft.

Church Interior #2
A view of the sanctuary from the main aisle.

Church Interior #3
A view of the nave from the sanctuary.

Altar of Sacrifice #1
A close-up view of the front of the Altar of Sacrifice. The inscription, carved into the marble, reads: "Behold the Lamb of God." The Altar of Sacrifice is the primary point of reference in the Church. Apart from being a symbol of Jesus himself, the purpose of the altar is two-fold: firstly, it is the place on which the sacrifice of Jesus' body and blood becomes present and is offered to God, much like the altars of sacrifice in the Old Testament; secondly, it is the table from which the faithful are fed with the bread of life and the cup of salvation.

Altar of Sacrifice #2
Detail of the hand-carved design on the front of the altar. The grape and wheat motif has long symbolized the Eucharist. Ordinary bread and wine, the work of human hands and the fruit of the vine, become the spiritual food and drink for the People of God through their consecration into the Body and Blood of Jesus at the hands of the priest.

Altar of Sacrifice #3
Another view of the Altar of Sacrifice from the front.

High Altar #1
A view of the Altar of Reservation, with the impressive reredos behind it. The Altar of Reservation was once the altar where Mass was celebrated before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Now its sole purpose is to hold the Tabernacle, the place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for adoration. The reredos is another unique and impressive aspect of our Church's design. The twelve apostles are depicted in statue form, with an image of Christ the King situated at the top middle.

High Altar #2
A closer view of the Altar of Reservation and Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament housed, among other things, manna, the bread which rained down from heaven to feed the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. The Ark of the Covenant, however, more than merely containing sacred items, was representative of the place where God himself dwelt. The Tabernacle, similar to the Ark of the Covenant, houses the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread. As Jesus said to his disciples: "Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" (John 6:49-51). It is the place where Jesus himself resides in a physical, tangible manner.

High Altar Detail #1
Detail from the front of the Altar of Reservation. Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It is an image of this "First Mass" that is portrayed here.

High Altar Detail #2
Detail of the apostles at the Last Supper. Notice how the apostles at the far right are murmuring among themselves. Most likely, this is a portrayal of the scene in John's Gospel: "Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.' The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant" (John 13:21-22).

High Altar Detail #3
Detail from the front of the Altar of Reservation. In this scene, Abraham, about to slay his son Isaac, is stopped by an angel. This scene, recorded in Genesis 22:1-19, has been interpreted as a pre-figuration of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Isaac is made to carry the wood for the sacrifice on his back up Mount Moriah, where he is meant to die. Jesus, similarly, is made to bear the cross on his shoulders up to Mount Calvary, where he will be put to death. In the story of Abraham, God sends an angel to save Isaac and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead, which is pictured in the bottom left of the panel.

High Altar Detail #4
Detail from the front of the Altar of Reservation. In this scene, Melchizedek, the first priest mentioned in the Bible, blesses Abraham after a victorious battle and offers bread and wine to God as a sacrifice (see Genesis 14:18-20). Melchizedek has often been understood as a pre-figuration of Christ. Melchizedek is the priest who offers a sacrifice of bread and wine to God. Jesus is the eternal high priest who offers his own body and blood in sacrifice to the Father, and institutes a perpetual memorial of that sacrifice in the form of bread and wine. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews also draws a connection between Jesus and Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7).

High Altar Detail #5
Detail from the Altar of Reservation. Angels such as this one are portrayed around the front and sides of the altar. They call to mind the invisible presence of the angels who join in our worship at every Mass and who attend to the eternal Liturgy in heaven.

Reredos Detail #1
Detail from the reredos. This is a portrayal of Saint Andrew, the brother of Peter and the apostle who holds the distinction of being the first apostle called by Jesus. He holds in his hands an "x" shaped cross, symbolizing the form of his own execution.

Reredos Detail #2
Detail from the reredos. This is a portrayal of Saint John. Tradition holds that Saint John was the youngest of the apostles, and he is often portrayed without a beard to convey his youthfulness. In this image, he holds in his hands the gospel which he wrote. The Gospel of John is the oldest of the four, and arguably the most theologically robust. He most likely composed it at Patmos around 90AD.

Reredos Detail #3
Detail from the reredos. This is a portrayal of Saint Peter, the "Prince of the Apostles" and the first Pope. In his hands, Peter holds a set of keys, reminiscent of Christ's word to him: "And so I say to you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19). The book in his hand most likely represents the Epistles which bear his name.

Reredos Detail #4
At the very top center of the reredos stands the image of Christ the King. He holds in his left hand an orb, representing his dominion over the whole earth. Jesus' right hand is extended in blessing. In his 1925 encyclical, Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King, stating that "...as long as individuals and states refuse to submit to the rule of our Savior, there will be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." The Solemnity of Christ the King is now celebrated as the Last Sunday in Ordinary Time (usually in November) and concludes the Church's Liturigcal Year.

A closer view of the Tabernacle. An angel is pictured on the door, holding in his left hand a bowl of burning incense and in his right, a chalice and host. The image of the burning incense is reminiscent of a passage from the book of Revelation: "Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel" (Revelation 8:3-5). The chalice and host are symbolic of the Eucharist.

Altar Cross
The image of the crucified Christ calls to mind the sacrifice of Calvary, which is made present at each Celebration of the Mass.

Side Altar #1
The image of Our Blessed Lady which stands above the side altar on the left of the sanctuary. Her hands are folded in humble submission across her breast, reminiscent of her assent to the message of the angel Gabriel. "Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word'" (Luke 1:38).

Side Altar #2
The image of Saint Joseph which stands above the side altar on the right of the sanctuary. In his hands he holds a carpenter's square, symbolic of his trade; and a lily, which represents purity.

Sacred Heart
The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque in the 17th century and promised that anyone who venerated his Sacred Heart would be blessed abundantly. This image is found to the left of the Blessed Virgin's altar.

Saint Ann
The image of Saint Ann and the child Mary. Saint Ann has been venerated in the Christian tradition from the earliest centuries. It was at her knee that the child Mary learned the Jewish faith and where her deep faith was fostered and nourished. Saint Ann's husband, Saint Joachim, is also venerated by the Church. They share July 26th as their feast day. This image is located to the right of Saint Joseph's altar.

Original Church Photo Album