ART AND ARCHITECTURE

“Like living stones,

let yourselves be built into a spiritual house

to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices

acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

 

— 1 Peter 2:5

The church building is a sign of the living Church, the Body of Christ, that worships within its walls. Through an experience of beauty, the church building leads a person to an encounter with God.

 

Construction on the parish church was begun in 1928 and the building was dedicated on August 28, 1929. Saint Benedict church has the traditional shape of a Roman basilica: the nave (central aisle) leading to the apse (semicircle). The nave intersects with the transept at the edge of the apse so that the shape of the building is cruciform. The transept represents the arms of Christ who, from the Cross, embraces all persons: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32).

Façade

 

The front of the church features a magnificent rose window with Christ at the center and the Twelve Apostles as the spokes radiating outward, signifying the mission of the Church: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

 

Beneath the rose window is a statue of St. Benedict (c. 480–543 A.D.), flanked by two of his missionary disciples, St. Marus (512–584 A.D.) and St. Placidus (d. 541 A.D.). The motto of the Benedictine order appears below: ut omnibus glorificetur Deus, meaning, “that God may be glorified in all things” (1 Peter 4:11).

Baptistery

Significantly, the baptistery is located near the entrance of the church, since Baptism is the gateway to the living Church, which is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

BAPTISTERY
The Sacrament of Baptism is administered here. The chapel includes the baptismal font, the paschal candle, stained glass windows, and a mural of the Holy Spirit.
Show More

Nave

The word “nave” is derived from the Latin navis, meaning, “ship” (as in the English word “navy"). The nave refers to the body of the church, where the people are seated.

Stained-glass windows

Along the nave, stained-glass windows feature prominent Benedictine saints.

STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS
Benedictine heroes and heroines line the nave of the church.
Show More

Chapels

There are four chapels in the church, which are dedicated to various saints and aspects of Christ: the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Scholastica, and Christ the King.

CHAPELS
Characteristically of an older church, St. Benedict's features several chapels with side altars and tabernacles (for when private Masses were celebrated in these spaces). The lighting of votive candles expresses prayers for various intentions, offered through the intercession of the saints.
Show More

Transoms

These half-windows (transoms) are located at the side entrances to the church and depict scenes associated with the Sacrament of Penance. 

TRANSOMS
Half-windows or transoms sit atop the side entrances to the church. Since they are located near the confessional, these windows portray the mercy and forgiveness of God received in the Sacrament of Penance.
Show More

Sanctuary

 

The sanctuary is located in the apse, at the top of the cross-shaped church building, and represents Christ as the Head of his Body that is the Church (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). The sanctuary includes a marble reredos (altarpiece), the altar, the ambo, a magnificent mural, and stained-glass windows of the seven sacraments. 

Reredos

 

The reredos, a term ultimately derived from the Latin dorsum, meaning "back," is an ornamental wall behind the altar. This reredos is a marble bas-relief of the Last Supper, which features the Twelve Apostles and has the tabernacle at its center.

Ambo

 

The ambo, a term derived from the Greek ambon, meaning “step” or “elevation," is the place where the readings from the Bible are proclaimed.

AMBO
Two scenes from the Bible, one from the Old Testament and one from the New, adorn the ambo: Abraham providing hospitality to the angels, and the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The two panels highlight the unity of Scripture proclaimed in this space, for both the Old and New Testaments are read at Mass.
Show More
SANCTUARY MURAL
Show More

Mural

 

The mural in the sanctuary includes the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, St. Benedict, and the Latin (Western) doctors or teachers of the Church: St. Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose.

Seven Sacraments

 

"Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1210).

SEVEN SACRAMENTS
Show More

The parish observes the anniversary of the dedication of the church (a feast day) on the Sunday before or after August 28.

 

 

O God, who year by year renew for us the day

when your holy temple was consecrated,

hear the prayers of your people

and grant that in this place

for you there may always be pure worship

and for us, fullness of redemption.

 

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

—Collect, On the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church

Daily Mass
Tuesday—Thursday: 5:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.
First Friday: 5:30 p.m.
Weekend Mass
Saturday: 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 8:30 a.m.
11:00 a.m. (In English with the 
Ordinary of the Mass in Latin)
Confession
Thursday: 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 4:00 p.m.

Bishop Knestout encourages anyone aware of sexual abuse of minors on the part of clergy or staff of the Diocese of Richmond to notify civil authorities by calling the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064, and then contacting the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Jennifer Sloan at 1-877-887-9603.