This page is dedicated to the beautiful church building that St. Pius X has. Here you have access to facts about the building, pictures of the construction, information about ancilliary items such as the Holy Family grotto donated by Bill and Babe Barrett, repair projects and enhancements. Many of these items are found elsewhere in the history as the events came up. They can also be found in the Construction and Renovation Projects under the About tab but page provides a consolidated accounting of major events. Also most of this information can be found in the Pius Times that was produced for the 40th anniversary of the church building. That document is also available for viewing here.
First the facts. The primary designer of the church is John Barthel from the firm of George Dahl and Associates and is described as Contemporary Mission reminiscent of the early Spanish Mission churches of Texas. The overall cost was $800,000 with square footage of 21,000 and a seating capacity of 800-1,000. Miller and Norton was the general contractor with Paul Hollis as the superintendent. Construction began on March 7, 1967 with the groundbreaking and complete 18 months later with the first Mass being 7 a.m. on July 21, 1968.
The beams are prefabed, laminated pine that are very rigid. They were made in Magnolia, Arkansas and shipped here on a train. The length of the beam was limited by the carrying capacity of the railcars at the time. The roof is made of a solid 4" wooden deck and in 1998 was covered by a rubber membrane and then covered with copper. The pews are a natural finish walnut built in Jacksonville, TX by S&K Church Furnishings. The original organ was a Lowry but that was replaced in the late 1990's by a Hammond.
The Baptismal Fond is bronze and marble and made in Pietra Sancta, Italy. The main altar, side altar and Tabernacle were all designed by the same man, Giovanni Raffo in Pietra Sancta, Italy under instructions from John Barthel. Around 2005 the tabernacle and most of the bronze fixtures were refurbished by John F. Farrell.
The windows were designed and fabricated by Baut Studios in Swoyersville, Penn. These are beautiful pieces of artwork and we have much more information about them here.
|The masterpiece of the Risen Christ shows Christ triumphant. This is also a part of the thinking in the church at the time....to display Christ the King, triumphant rather than the crucified Christ.
The hand carved cross was designed and executed by a German wood carver in Muenster, TX by the name of Ludwig Kenniger. Amazingly Mr. Kenniger made this wonderful piece of art in his studio from a mass of 3" rough timber glued together. Mr. Kenniger supervised not only the trip down to Dallas but the installation. Unfortunately there was a mishap during the installation causing the cross to crash down from the crane hoisting it and Mr. Kenniger had to repair the broken parts. He did such a great job you would never know it was broken.
Originally there was a pedestal upon which the cross stood that was a speaker system. That was later removed and a not so great job of painting the bricks was done. So you can still see the rough outline of where the pedestal once was. Good thing that the pedestal was removed because the cross actually was too high. After removing the pedestal the cross was lowered into the current position.
The motto inside above the doors of the church, Love One Another, appeared above the altar of the previous church. Made of wood it is nice to have continuity from one building to the next. In addition to the motto, the presider chair on the side altar and the Stations of the Cross were the only other items that moved from the original church to the new church.
The lighting inside is all circular. These match the circular patterns throughout the church and signify life (everlasting), marriage (no end) and Christ's Eternity.
The height of the church is 90' plus 16' for the cross at the highest point of the church. And being on a hill this is certainly the tallest structure nearby.
The cornerstone on the northeast corner of the building was set in place in May. Inside there are coins, newspapers, an old maniple, parish documents and directories for several years.
The construction of the current church was quite an event for the parishioners, staff, diocesan employees and the surrounding community. Click here for pictures of the construction.
After the church was completed, everyone was excited to catch a glimpse. Tours were conducted and the guides used the script that can be seen here.
Mr. Tony Roffino was instrumental in all phases of the new church including donating the altar. For his generosity of time, talent and money, this parish is deeply indebted. Mr. Roffino went on to become one of the first deacons from this parish. Below is a page recording the key construction players.
There are many interesting features of the church that Mr. John Barthel incorporated. And do you know that he is not even Catholic? But he is a wonderful man and very talented. The elegance and simplicity of some of these plans are so deceptive that the real meanings are sometimes stealth. For example, the wood carving of Mary pictured below. The pose is very significant. With her left hand, Mary points to the baptismal font and with her right the risen Christ. The symbolism is from baptism to her son. Very nice.
The three rings of the large stained glass windows at each end represent the Trinity. Some design features are just interesting factoids. The height of the church is determined by the supporting laminated beams. As mentioned earlier, the height of those beams is determined by the maximum length that could be transported on a railroad car at the time. Many people have noted that the outward appearance of the church is an upside down ark. Surely this must have been a design feature. Actually, the reason the church has that shape was the desire to have a day Mass chapel that would also serve for Sunday services. As a result, the side altar roof needed to be lower so that a 'chapel' was created. Viola, the design took shape from there. The beams were the largest manufactured up to that time.
The first major renovation of the church concerned the flooring in 1998. Originally the aisles and altars were carpeted. The altars had red carpet. Under Fr. Ramon, the side and main altar flooring was removed and replaced with tile. In keeping with the idea of separating the flooring, the altars were done in a brownish marble. Click here to view a description and pictures of this project.
The next major renovation in 2004, and we mean major, was the replacement of the ground level gold carpet along the front and back of the pews and down the asles. This was really big because there is a good deal of square footage. Here is a description of that project as well as pictures.
And finally on the floors in 2005, we replaced the carpet on the steps and around the altars. Basically anything except the cry room that still had carpet. While not as many square feet this project had a high degree of difficulty because they are steps. All three flooring projects were done with volunteers from the parish. Isn't St. Pius X great in that regard? Look at that project here.
The fortieth anniversary of the completion of this building occurred in the year 2008. For that event, a special commemorative edition of the "Pius Times" was created. This newsletter is jam packed with great information. Click here to read that special edition. (Large File Warning, this newsletter is large and will take time to download if you click.)
And we also have pictures of the 40th anniversary of the church building celebration. Click here to enjoy those. Everyone had such a good time.
Finally, we as a parish will forever be in the debt of John Barthel for the creativity in designing such a beautiful and solid building. Mr. Barthel was honored on the evening of August 23, 2008 for his contribution. Those in attendance at the church rose to give him a well deserved standing ovation. Mr. Barthel was presented with a beautiful picture of the church taken by our parishioner Guy Prater, a selection of church construction pictures, some special St. Pius X glasses and a very nice bottle of Scotch. Mr. Barthel wrote this very nice thank you letter.