St Laurence Catholic Church
Official Site of St Laurence Catholic Parish
Chapel of The Divine Mercy
Parish Mission Statement
Welcome to St. Laurence Catholic Parish. St. Laurence was founded in 1985 with 210 families in the First Colony area. The first Mass was held in the Offices of Sweetwater. Fr. Laurence Connelly was the founding pastor.
In August of 1988 the Parish Hall was opened. The building was used for every event celebrated in the Parish. C.C.E. was still taught in the homes of dedicated catechists. The church, offices, meeting rooms and classrooms were completed in 1992.
On Sunday, April 26,1992, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza dedicated the new church building. During his homily that morning, Fr. Connelly explained the theology and philosophy behind the design of the complex:
Fashioned after the missions of Father Junipero Serra, in California, the buildings are designed around a courtyard, from which we enter the church, reminding us that God called us as a people. We are a diverse group, we come from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. However, as we enter the courtyard we are reminded that we are one in the body of Christ, coming together to worship the God who made us.
There is much emphasis placed on the theology of Incarnation and Redemption and we have gotten away from the theology of Creation -The presence of God in nature. In this modern time of high technology, we have moved into a world of concrete: freeways, large buildings, parking lots and malls. You will notice that a great emphasis has been placed in the landscaping around the parking lot, the courtyard and fountain. The idea is to put us back in touch with the concept that we are first of all touched by God in beauty and nature. When we look at nature around us, the birds, the air, the plants, the water, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, we wonder in all that beauty if these are the creatures what must the Creator be like. We are reminded that we are in a relationship with God. We are called to reverence not only God, but His creation.
A generous sharing of time, talent and treasure has brought St. Laurence Parish to where it is today. Pray for those few who had the vision and dedication to bring us this far and pledge to join in their efforts to continue His work.
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
The windows in the church were designed by Dennis Roberts and illustrate various chapters in the Bible.
Click on picture to enlarge.
THE RESURRECTION WINDOW
The Resurrection Window is based primarily on the resurrection account as it is given in the Gospel of Mark 16: 5-20. The design also illustrates separate themes found in each of the other three Gospels as well as information common to all four accounts.
Those items illustrated, common to all four Gospels were dawn or early morning, the women, and the empty tomb.
Items illustrated from each of the Gospels: Matthew 28:1-2 Dawn, the sun rising Earth quake Mark 16: 1-20 Women entering the tomb Young man in white sitting Luke: 12: 1 Women carrying spices John 20: 5-8 Strips of linen lying on the floor Burial cloth folded and laying by itself.
The individual design elements are pulled together into one design.
The Phoenix Bird
The phoenix, legendary though it was, caught the interest of people through the centuries. The coins of emperors in the East bore its image. It's likeness was seen on many ancient stone coffins. In the Christian era it appeared as a church symbol, unmistakably as an emblem of immortality. More specifically, the phoenix in Christian circles stood for bodily resurrection -first for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and then for that of the believers.
The furca, or fork, is a medieval symbol for the Trinity. In its inverted format as illustrated here, it expresses salvation descending from above and spreading over the world.
The positioning of the design elements have further symbolic meaning. Christ is positioned as ascending to the right hand of God the Father. The Tomb (symbol of death) is on the left side, the Rising Sun (symbolic of victory over death) is on the right to remind us of the final judgment, the separation of the sheep and goats on the right and left of God. There are three crosses, one of which is touching the center cross, symbolizing the thief on the cross recognizing Christ as the Son of God.
Click on picture to enlarge.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
This window is an illustration of the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5-8. Gathering at the feet of Christ are the disciples as He began to teach them. In the far left corner of the design are the Tablets, burning bush and lightening as described when the law was given to Moses. Matthew 5: 17, "Do not think that 1 have come to abolish the Law of the prophets... but to fulfill them. "To the far right corner Matthew 7: 24-27, "Therefore everyone who hears these words . . .and it fell with a great crash."
The descending dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit, envelopes the space of the entire window to further emphasize the omnipresence of God. The open book is symbolic of God's Word going out to all man kind. The circle is not only a symbol of the perfection of God but also of His everlasting and eternal nature. The disciples being illustrated within this circle further reminds us of our own salvation and eternal life given us by the grace of God through Word and Sacrament.
Click on picture to enlarge.
WOMEN AT THE WELL
The illustration in this window is based on John 4: The Samaritan women at the well. On the far left we have the Temple and mountain illustrated as discussed in 4: 19 "Sir", the woman said, "I can see . . .we must worship in Jerusalem." On the right side of the window is the running water flowing from the cross, symbolic of what Christ told the woman in 4: 13. "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water 1 shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling to eternal life."The Holy Spirit is illustrated as the descending dove. Instead of the open Bible we have two hands descending from above holding the globe (circle), symbolic of God's love and care for us in His hands.
Our chapel which adjoins the school is dedicated as a holy place in honor of The Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. The image of this Divine Mercy is the main stained glass window in the sanctuary - Fix your gaze upon the image and contemplate the goodness of God, who loves you and blesses you, always inviting you to receive His mercy.
In the foyer of the Chapel, you will also see the image of Blessed Faustina who had the vision in the image of Our Lady of Mercy and St. Joseph. There are six other stained glass windows with angels adoring the pierced heart of Jesus, from which blood and water gushed out for us. This heart is the source of mercy.
Visit our chapel often. Our daily masses take place there at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 12;10 p.m., as well as small weddings, funerals and daily Adoration from 9:00 a.m. until noon Monday thru Friday, starting after the 8:30 am Mass until 12 noon. On Thursday and Friday of every week, the time is extended from after the 12:10 pm Mass until the first Mass on the following day.
PARISH MISSION STATEMENT
St. Laurence Parish community exists to serve and support all members in their spiritual growth and profession of Gospel values. We strive to prepare each individual and family to be better Christian witnesses to the larger community by strengthening their foundations in the sacraments, liturgy, and Catholic teachings based on Vatican II philosophy. We acknowledge a call to every parishioner to share our God-given gifts with each other, through education, prayer, service and celebration of Christ in our lives.
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