St. Ann Catholic Parish - Church Tour
The idea of St. Ann Catholic Parish began in 1984 as two homemakers prayed and talked about the possibility of getting together with other Catholics in town. From that humble beginning to a little white clapboard church in downtown Coppell, to the middle school, to the dedication of a parish building in 1989, we are now celebrating in this wonderful church that was dedicated on October 28
, 2001 - and we are now over 8,500 families strong.
The church is a Spanish mission design, continuing the design of our original parish structure. The beautiful copper domes are painted and will stay that color. They will not oxidize to green. The Austrian pine that once stood atop the dome is now planted on the west side, near the chapel.
Representatives from Centex Construction, the builders, said they always place a tree at the top of buildings to remind themselves that ‘God’s creation always supercedes man’s creation’.
The towers contain bells over 100 years old, three small ones in the west tower and one large one in the east. Two of the smaller bells will ring 10 minutes before each weekend Mass and then a full peel at the start of each Mass.
The 22,000 square foot courtyard is the center of many events, gatherings, and an area to meet after Masses and during the week. The beautiful three tiered cast iron fountain is 10 foot high and 10 feet across. The hospitality area is in the southwest corner. Across the courtyard are a nursery and several classrooms.
As you enter through the main mahogany doors into the narthex, the stained glass window of St. Ann with Mary dominates. This 11 foot window is backlit and will be visible day and night. The chapel is to the right. The wing to the left of the narthex contains support rooms, such as the sacristy, the bride’s and groom’s rooms, and a large airy room for Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Near the northwest door, take time to look at the glass case which contains exact replicas of the first Gutenberg Bible.
In the narthex, there are three niches holding statues of
St. Martin de Porres
(next to the Chapel doors)
St. Teresa of Avila
(next to the main doors)
St. Thomas Aquinas
(next to the main entry doors)
They were hand-carved in Madrid, Spain.
In the narthex are stained glass windows of the four major prophets:
Isaiah - Ezekiel
Jeremiah - Elijah
The painting of St. Ann and Mary, above the glass doors leading to the church was painted in Peru. It is done in the Spanish colonial of the 16
The chapel, to the right of the narthex, seats approximately 200. It is highlighted by a 30 foot wood ceiling. The wood beams are not just decorative; they are part of the structural ceiling. The chapel shrine is to the Blessed Mother. Mosaic tile with the words ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women’, sets apart a beautiful 5 foot statue of Our Lady with Child.
The windows in the chapel present different scenes from Jesus’ life. Starting from the South wall
(left side when entering chapel)
and moving clockwise, the window scenes are:
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus in the Temple
The Wedding Feast at Cana
The Parable of Judgment
The Last Supper
The Good Shepherd
Jesus Saves the Drowning Peter
The Raising of Lazarus
At the front of the chapel on either side, are votive candles to be lighted as prayer offerings. The reconciliation rooms are found at the back of the chapel
Proceeding through the glass doors in the narthex into the main church, to the west you will see the stained glass window of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. She overlooks the baptistery. The baptistery, the offering table, the ambo, and the altar are all made of “Sunset Red” Texas granite. On either side of the baptistery are stairs that lead to the balcony. The balcony seats about 140 and is for adults only.
The church itself seats approx-imately 1,400 people. The floor is of ceramic tile. The pews with kneelers are made of mahogany and are from Indonesia. The columns, as well as many of the ceiling features, are made of pre-cast stone
(a fancy term for concrete)
. It is difficult to appreciate the size of this structure. However, each of the light fixtures is 9 feet high and 11 feet across, and weighs 1,000 lbs. Hidden in the center are speakers.
Notice the upper windows. They are designed to flood the building with natural light. The sills are sloped to allow the most light in.
The Nave, this rectangular part of the church, has stained glass windows that present symbols, saints and sacraments of the church
(see below for diagram and specific window representations)
When statues are included in a church, Mary and Joseph are traditionally selected, and we follow this tradition with shrines containing life-size statues of Mary
(point to the west shrine)
and St. Joseph the Carpenter
(point to the east shrine)
The sanctuary sits approximately three feet above the main church floor. The altar is made of “Sunset Red” Texas granite and weighs 8,000 lbs. The relics, small bits of bone, of 8 saints are beneath the altar.
The saints are:
St. John Neuman
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Martin de Porres
The Japanese Martyrs
St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton
St. Charles Lowango
St. Rose of Lima
St. Faustina Kowalska
The relics were chosen by Fr. John
Above the sanctuary, rises a beautiful dome. It is 85 feet to the very top. The dome is covered with a surface to help the sound travel. It will not be painted. The four stained glass windows are of the evangelists (Gospel writers) - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
- The emblem of the “Divine Man” was assigned to St. Matthew in ancient times because his Gospel teaches us about the human nature of Christ.
- The winged lion, ancient symbol of St. Mark, refers to his Gospel, which informs us of the royal dignity of Christ.
- The winged ox, assigned to St. Luke, is a reference to his Gospel, which deals with the sacrificial aspects of Christ’s life.
- The ancient symbol of a rising eagle is said to have been assigned to St. John because his gaze pierced further into the mysteries of Heaven than that of any man. The manner of his death is not known.
The semi-circular portion behind the altar is called the apse. It is the earliest sound system. Its function, in the early days, was to bounce the sound back into the church. Remember the priest faced the altar then. The painting which took 45 days to complete is of the Transfiguration- when after Jesus had foretold his death on the cross, he took three disciples, Peter, James, and John, to a high mountain. There Jesus was transfigured- his face shone like the sun and his clothes were sparkling white. Moses
(point to figure with tablets)
and Elijah appeared. Then the voice of God pronounced, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased…’. This episode reveals to us that Jesus is the Son of God, who is glorified by the Father.
The painting, which is by Italian Family Heritage Painting, is in a medieval style. There is something which is out of place in the painting, which was common to do in medieval times. If you look in the background in the lower right, you will see a church, complete with a cross. Of course, at the Transfiguration, there were no churches. We did not have the cross yet!
Below the apse are the windows symbolizing St. Kilian
and The coat of arms of:
-The Diocese of Dallas
-Pope John Paul II
The crucifix to the right of the apse is made of mahogany and was carved in Mexico. The signs on the cross say ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’ in Latin and Greek. Missing, and soon to come, is the Hebrew sign.
Each transept (the short arms of the church) has an 11 foot stained glass window. The rising sun of the east will light the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The setting sun of the west will light the crucifixion.
St. Timothy – The instruments of his martyrdom are well known. It was to St. Timothy that St. Paul, his teacher, wrote the two Epistles which are part of the New Testament. A gold club, silver stones, on a red field.
St. Ann – The mother of St. Mary the Virgin, whose loving care of her daughter is shown by the silver border masoned in black. The silver lily on a blue field refers to the girlhood of the Virgin.
St. Kilian – While singing the Divine Office in the church at Franconia, St. Kilian and two companions met martyrdom at the hands of assassins. A gold cross and swords with gold hilts and silver blades, on a red field.
St. Christopher – A martyr of the Decian persecution was called “Christopher,” which means “Christ bearer” in its Greek form. His emblem refers to one of many legends. The lamp refers to St. Christopher carrying Christ, the Light of the World, to safety, and bearing a staff which bloomed in one night. A silver lantern, gold staff, on a red field.
St. Joseph of Nazareth - The only record of St. Joseph is found in the Gospels where it states that he was a just man, of Davidic descent, who worked as a carpenter. A gold handled carpenter’s square with silver blade, silver lily of the Madonna, on a blue field.
All Saints – The explanation for this emblem is as follows: The gold crowns refer to sanctity, the gold scrolls with red inscription
allude to the chant of the redeemed, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The silver left half of the field indicates the brightness of the Heavenly life in contrast to the black right half and the trials of the earthly life.
St. Jude – The sailing vessel here represents the Church, which St. Jude carried to many ports as he journeyed as a missionary. A gold ship with silver sails, on a red field.
St. Francis of Assisi – It is said that St. Francis, the father of the Franciscan Order, for two years before his death bore the marks of the Lord’s Passion upon his hands, feet and side. A silver cross, red marks of the stigmata, on a brown field.