Commissioned by Pastor Monsignor Michael Donovan and completed in 1993, our sanctuary mosaic is rich in scriptural and traditional Christian symbolism. Its centerpiece is a monogram of the Greek letters X (Chi) and P (Rho). These are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, Xpistos. The Chi-Rho symbol was often used by Christians of the early Church to identify each other and to symbolize their common faith in Jesus the Christ.
Surrounding the Chi-Rho are found representations of the four living creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:6b-8 that are ever-watchful and continually sing praise around the throne of Almighty God:
"In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
In Christian art, the four creatures have been used to symbolize the four evangelists.
- Matthew the Evangelist symbolized as a winged man or angel — Because the Gospel of Matthew focuses upon the lineage and genealogy of Christ's human family, the Incarnation, and Christ's human nature, the man or angel reminds us that Christians should use their reason for salvation.
- Mark the Evangelist symbolized by a winged lion — The Gospel of Mark focuses upon Christ's resurrection and His kingship. The lion, a figure of courage and monarchy, is said to sleep with open eyes, a comparison to Christ in the tomb. Christians are reminded to be courageous on their path to salvation.
- Luke the Evangelist symbolized as a winged bull or ox — The Gospel of Luke points to Christ's sacrifice in His Passion and crucifixion and His position as High Priest. The ox, a symbol of sacrifice, service, and strength, reminds Christians that they should be ready to sacrifice in order to follow Christ.
- John the Evangelist symbolized by an eagle — The Gospel of John details an eternal overview of Christ, His Ascension, and His divine nature. The eagle, a creature of the sky and one which Christian scholars believed to be able to look straight into the sun, reminds Christians to look unflinchingly toward eternity and in their journey to union with God.
How appropriate that around our altar, which is the symbol of God's royal throne, we are reminded of the seat of God's dwelling in heaven. Like the living creatures, may our songs of praise continually rise before Christ, the Almighty God.
Additional history: A refurbished pulpit and lectern, new candlesticks, cross, re-plated tabernacle, and Baptismal font cover were part of the overall improvements to the church made when this mosaic was installed. The Risen Christ statue was re-located on the main wall of the sanctuary above the mosaic.