The church building is a privileged place to house the people of God. While the building itself is a church, all that the building contains makes up the actual living church on earth.
The church of OLA is built in a gothic style, incorporating traditional architecture while keeping with the teachings of Vatican II.
The highest point on the church’s exterior is the cupola. While outside the church, going about our daily affairs, a momentary glance at the cupola can be a beautiful reminder that, directly beneath its tower is the altar, the most sacred place for the liturgical community gathered within. “A church with a roof or a tower higher than any other structure in the vicinity becomes a defining point for the community, with houses nestling in the shadow of their highest building” (Kieckhefer, 106).
The Garden of Memories was part of the exterior of the original church (the original garden was dedicated in 1991). It is designed to be a space for outside meditation and prayer. Engraved bricks cover the ground and memorialize loved ones, living and deceased and special occasions in the lives of parishioners. Trees and other plants also serve as memorials.
When you enter a Catholic church, you are not just entering a physical structure, but a spiritual process. The different elements making up the church’s interior are not simply furnishings, but places of encounter with God and one another. The church liturgy involves movement, highlighting the journey aspect of the spiritual life. By moving from one space to another the idea of being “brought along” by God, of being called to further intimacy, becomes apparent.
In this church, the People of God gather together as a community to proclaim their faith. The inscription placed above the exterior portal: “My soul magnifies the Lord”, recalls Mary’s hymn of praise when she visited her cousin Elizabeth.
The entrance doors hold great symbolism for worshippers. They are a portal, a “secure, steady, symbol of Christ, ‘the Good Shepherd’ and ‘the door through which those who follow Him enter and are safe (as they) go in and out.'” (Built of Living Stones #97)