On Christmas Day, I was astounded at how beautiful I thought our Church looked decorated for Christmas.
Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me. So when we went to mass this morning, I took my camera so I could share it with all of you.
Welcome to St. Maria Goretti Church which was dedicated in 1977. So it is a fairly new parish.
As you enter the church, you are greeted by this huge live tree surrounded by red poinsettias around the base and decorated with white lights.
This tree sits in the center of the vestibule before entering the Church itself.
When you walk through the doors of the Church, this is your first view.
There is a skylight directly above the cross in the ceiling.
As you approach, you can see the beautiful marble on the altar floor.
The Sculpture on the top left behind the cross signifies Bethlehem and the Birth of Jesus.
The Sculpture to the right signifies the Holy Spirit and the bottom one signifies the Ressurection with Jesus rising from the dead and leaving the tomb.
Usually the back of the altar is flanked with several live Christmas trees lit with white lights.
This year, they decided to use these metal frames in the shape of a tree that are pot holders for the Poinsettia plants which are donated by members of the parish. These frames were used when the church was first built but I have never seen them used since we have been parishioners for the past 15 years.
I thought that the trees created out of poinsettias are striking!
Unfortunately, they did not have the little trees with lights lit when I took these pictures.
With the sunlight coming down through the skylight and the sidelight to the right of the altar, I switched to Candlelight Mode on my camera.
The red really pops, don't you think?
The manger scene is placed directly in front of the Altar.
During all masses on Christmas Eve ( we have 3), our priest carries the Christ Child into church and places him in his crib. However, at the 4:30 pm, Mass which is the Children's Mass, an actual real baby was placed in the crib during the Christmas Pageant presented by children of the Parish.
To the right side of the Altar are the 3 Wise Men.
The feast of the Wise Men or Epiphany is next Sunday on Jan. 8th.
It is customary for many in my area to leave their Christmas Decorations up until then.
With the sun shining on this poinsettia tree from the side light to the right, the poinsettias looked like red velvet.
On your way out of the church into the vestibule, you see the beautiful large live tree again.
I did not take any pictures outside of the church but you can see in this picture, looking beyond the tree, looking out the glass windows, 2 trees in huge urns on each side of the Entrance Doors.
This is a picture of what the outside of our church looks like .
The Banquet Hall is connected to the Church on the left hand side.
This is the story of St. Maria Goretti, the patron Saint of young women and victims of Rape.
b: 1890 d: 1902 Patroness of youth, young women, purity, and victims of rape
There really isn't much to tell about St. Maria Goretti because she died when she was 12 years old.
Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her farm-worker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children.
In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather died than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife.
As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn't end her forgiveness, however.
Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria's mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. "If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withhold forgiveness," she said.
When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter's crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth.
She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander's attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker -- her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth and for the victims of rape.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of my Church decorated at Christmas. I thought it looked particularly beautiful and I hope you did too.
I am linking up to these parties:
Amaze Me Monday
Wow Us Wednesday
Open House Party Thursday
Home Sweet Home Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Itz Festival Time!
Please take some time to visit these terrific hosts and all those joining in on the fun!
Thanks so much for stopping by today and every day that you take the time to visit with me!