Reflecting Heaven Part 4: Summer Edition Overview

05-19-2021Reflecting HeavenFr. Don Kline, V.F.

A blessed welcome to all, whether visitor, newcomer, or daily Mass participant at St. Bernadette! Christmas is coming early!! The great Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord, perhaps beyond all other feasts of the year, is one of beauty and mystery. In the cold of a winter’s night (which is nice to think about in the summer in Arizona), we reflect on a heavenly star beaming upon a tiny stable in an obscure village called Bethlehem, drawing worshipers from foreign lands. We wonder at the story of humble shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, startled into awe and action by the “multitude of the heavenly host.” And most of all, the beauty of the Christmas season helps us ponder the mystery of all mysteries and wonder of all wonders: the God of heaven and earth takes on the flesh of the frailest humanity, the infant of a poor couple reduced to sheltering in a place so humble it is fit only for animals.

Hopefully the Christmas season holds some moments of enchantment for each of us. Moments in which God does not seem distant, moments in which, in spite of ourselves, our hearts, more than our minds, allow God to draw us into a close embrace.

If you feel that mystical encounter even once this Christmas season, wouldn’t it be a profound blessing to experience it every time you walk into St. Bernadette Catholic Church?

Wouldn’t it be grand to leave the outside world behind you for a bit, enter these doors, and sense God’s presence in awe and wonder? Would that not help you delve into the Mass with a deeper fervor, a deeper union with God and your fellow worshipers?

That, in a nutshell, is why you see evidence this Christmas of an upcoming change at St. Bernadette. Between now and Advent, we will strive to make the interior of our church even more conducive to prayer, worship, and nurturing a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

So, what should we expect in the coming months?

WHEN? The plan is set to begin in the church on May 18, 2021. The hope is for the continued beautification and organ installation and is to be completed before Christmas 2021. All Sunday Masses will be celebrated in St. Bernadette Hall during the renovation beginning May 18th. Weekday Masses and all confessions will also move to the hall until October.

WHO? A committee of clergy, staff, and parishioners has long been meeting, consulting, and refining plans. Along the way we have worked with some of the most respected liturgical designers in the country. The architectural firm is Conrad Schmitt Studios from New Berlin, Wisconsin. For more than a century, internationally recognized Conrad

Schmitt Studios has created timeless interiors and fine works of art for buildings of architectural, historic and religious significance. They are working in liturgical consultation with the Diocese of Phoenix Liturgical Committee. The architect carrying out the work is Bruce Scott who designed and oversaw the building of our current church. The organ construction and installation will be completed by the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company which was founded in 1918 by John Peragallo, Sr., who developed his craft as an apprentice with the famous E.M. Skinner Organ Company.

Project Highlights


There will be 34 new stained glass windows to be placed where the clear windows currently reside throughout the entire church building. At press time, all images are in the final stages of completion.

There are twelve windows that depict the twelve apostles. Four windows will be of the Archangels. Six windows depict the Blessed Mother as presented in the Old Testament. Two windows are of the Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The choir loft, flanking the organ, will be St. Cecelia and St. Gregory. The remaining eight windows will include St. Bernadette and St. John XXIII to name a few. A separate article will follow with more window details.


Our present stations will be enhanced to match the altars to Our Lady and St. Joseph.


The sanctuary will be covered with a more noble enhancements that include decorative borders and religious symbols that include the four evangelists.

The furnishing for the sanctuary will change including seating for servers, deacons and the priest. Renderings are still in the initial planning stage.

The ceiling decking or apse over the sanctuary will be hand painted with a beautiful mural that places Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at the center. Our Lady will be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that include many Saints of old and some much more recent saints. This glorious scene will set the sanctuary apart and raise the heart and mind of young and old toward heaven.

Future articles will treat the sanctuary in detail.


Many parishioners and visitors comment that our nave is very bright. This current project will utilize light in new and powerful ways, not the least of which will be the stained glass windows reflecting the celestial light into our beautiful church. The ceiling will depict eight scenes from the life of Our Lady. Beginning with the Annunciation and ending with Mary at the foot of the cross.

In short, 2021 promises to be an exciting year that will not be without its inconveniences and adjustments to change. But the ultimate goal of this renovation is to be inspired to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. Amen!