Their tour was led by Monsignor David D. Brockman, vicar general, and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Guests included Bishop Herbert Bevard, of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Monsignor Joseph McLoone, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Monsignor Brockman described what’s known as progressive solemnity and how it relates to structural elements. The faithful pass through the door and then the narthex, for example, and they move toward the altar, a most solemn space.
The tour included a visit to the choir loft, which will accommodate about 60 choristers and 30 chamber orchestra pieces. A new pipe organ will find its home in the choir loft, too, once the building project is complete and the construction dust settles.
Details about the instrument caught the attention of seminarian Tyler Sparrow, who enjoys vocals and has taken up piano playing as a hobby at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
“What was really nice was that Monsignor lead us,” he said. It wasn’t a simple ‘come and see the building and the progress.’ He explained the meaning behind the architecture.”
Another element that struck Mr. Sparrow was the area where the tabernacle will be. “It’s centralized. It brings out the reverence of the Blessed Sacrament,” he added. “And it reminded me of St. Martin Chapel at seminary.”
The group, which included more than 25 people, could see 18-foot window frames that will contain stained glass windows. The framed archways that will display the Stations of the Cross were visible, too.
Monsignor Brockman described how the apse (a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault) resembles the brow of a ship. “The church throughout tradition has been known as the ship of Peter,” Monsignor Brockman said. “It’s taking us through the ‘waters’ and leading us through the course towards the goal of eternity in Heaven.”