The stunning glass-and-steel tower on the south end of the building can be seen from blocks away. As people approach our building, their eyes move up the tower, finally focusing on the cross at the top. The tower lets light pour into the church, reminding us that Christ is the light of the world.
The church’s sanctuary is its worship space, designed to encourage all the faithful to participate with the presider in the Eucharist. Seating is designed to create a sense of community and involvement for all. Parishioners worship in full view of one another and of the liturgical centers: the raised altar (where the Eucharistic mystery is celebrated) and the ambo (the lectern where the Liturgy of the Word is proclaimed from the scriptures).
The prominent baptistry, just inside the south door of the sanctuary, has eight sides, as does the altar. The number eight has had deep significance throughout the centuries. God created the universe in seven days, so eight is “one beyond seven”—a symbol of completed time. It stands for the permanent dimension of reality that lies beyond time: eternity.
The baptistry is where the first sacramental rite of initiation for children and adults is celebrated by the community and ministers. This first sacramental rite of initiation is the first thing we encounter upon entering Corpus Christi’s sanctuary. It is also the last thing we encounter upon leaving, as we renew our own baptismal covenant by signing ourselves with the baptistry water.
The ambo is where the Word of God is proclaimed. In our church, it’s a lectern placed on a sturdy podium between the baptistry and the altar. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The dignity of the Word of God requires the church to have a suitable place for announcing His message so that the attention of the people may be easily directed to that place during the Liturgy of the Word.”
This large, decorated pillar of wax stands near the baptistry except during the Easter season. The Paschal candle, also known as the Easter Candle, is lit from the Easter vigil fire every year as the priest sings, “Christ Our Light.” Each baptized person, whether infant or adult, receives a small candle lit from this candle to signify that the person is now raised from the dead and is God’s light shining in the world.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord’s Cross, from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited.”
Like the baptistry, the altar platform is eight-sided to signify eternity. The round Trinity Window on the north wall of the nave came from St. Placidus Church northeast of Mott and was part of the 1977 church building.
Suspended by three thin wires above the altar is a ten-foot-tall, 650-pound crucifix, purchased for the church’s 50th Jubilee. Ontario-based Christian sculptor Timothy Schmalz designed the corpus (body), sculpted it in his studio in China, then shipped it to North Dakota to be attached to a specially created cross. The Christ figure is strong, powerful, and masculine. Schmalz considers this his most beautiful Jesus sculpture.
The Stations of the Cross from the 1977 church were also included in the new building, filling the windowless west wall of the sanctuary. In 2003, two parishioners painstakingly cleaned and restored the stations. In 2014, the parish updated the lighting over the niches and covered them with protective glass.
On the southwest wall of the sanctuary, to the left of the baptistry, is the ambry. This is the clearly visible chest where the holy oils are reserved. These oils are used for anointing in baptism, confirmation, ordination, and healing the sick.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Virgin conceived without sin, pray for us.
Our Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Jesus’ earthly comfort was His mother. The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, located on the southwest wall near the ambry, illustrates that help and comfort. The icon is Byzantine in style. Our Lady looks tenderly and lovingly at us as she holds the child Jesus. Her son is shown as a miniature adult rather than as a child. This symbolizes his possession, even as a child, of all the faculties and qualities of an adult. The Archangel Gabriel holds the cross on which Jesus will die; the Archangel Michael holds the spear that will pierce His side. The icon was designed for Corpus Christi and dedicated on December 8, 2007, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Eucharistic chapel, in the southeast corner of the sanctuary, is a quiet place of prayer that can seat about 30 people. The chapel holds the tabernacle, where the Eucharist is reserved (stored). In the chapel, we meditate or focus upon the reserved sacrament, acknowledging the mystery of the Lord.
Also in the chapel are three stained-glass windows. They come from St. Placidus Church northeast of Mott and were part of the 1977 church. A statue of Our Lady of Grace faces the windows. She was hand-carved in Italy for our parish and blessed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2009. Small votive candles are available for people offering prayers.