On Sunday, November 7, Fr. Rutledge took St. Mary’s College on a tour inside the up-and-coming Immaculata, sharing with them his knowledge of the progress and future plans for the completion of the church. As the students met him at the main archway, the gaze of each slowly rose upwards, and eyes widened as they began to realize the true significance and size of the project.
The full magnitude of the Immaculata just cannot be realized until one approaches it up close. “When you see it walking by, it looks normal size,” one student remarked, “but when you go in,” motioning with her hands, “It’s like, ten times bigger!”
Though scaffolding – hundreds of square feet of it – filled up almost the entire nave, and the inside walls were not yet up, it was not too hard to imagine the beautiful artwork that would soon fill the inside. “It’s just so impressive!” exclaimed more than one student, “all the detail and thought put into the whole process is amazing!” Every inch of the chapel has been thought out, from the practical positioning of the bathrooms to the color and placement of the stone tiles. No matter from which point one will enter the Church, every artistic and architectural detail will direct one’s attention to the altar – the place of sacrifice.
Permanent markers were passed round to the students so that they might sign their names on any of the exposed walls or beams. “I signed my own and my family’s name on one of the supporting beams holding the whole Church together,” shared one girl, “I thought that if I wanted my family to be anywhere, it would be as close to the sanctuary as possible.” Unlike other building projects, whose completion anticipates business and profit, the whole spirit of the Immaculata project is one of the glory of God. Standing out more so than the signatures on the pillars, where the private prayers written above them. One such, positioned on a beam that will make up one of the walls of the future Sacred Heart side-chapel, read, “Jesus, I love you more than myself.”
One student remarked, “It’s fitting that … the highest point in the town of St. Mary’s is the Church,” Indeed, named after Our Lady, the culmination point of the town will also be the Immaculata. The collegiates finished their tour with the singing of the Salve Regina from the choir loft, echoing in their verses the mission of the Immaculata project: “Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende” – after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
~ by Theresa K, class of 2023