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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘Consider the Eternal’

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Photo by Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Catholic Center and Studio Io

A visualization of St. Mary’s new church produced by Studio Io as the building processes commences. 

Over a decade in the making, the new church at St. Mary’s Catholic Center is finally underway. 
For more than 10 years now, St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station has been planning to build a new church. The $28 million church will be able to fit 1,400 people, so the permanent parishioners and the growing student population will all be able to fit inside the church for services. 

Associate Pastor at St. Mary’s Father Chris Smith said the church not only serves the practical needs for the parishioners, but it fulfills spiritual needs for the entire community. The church is for all people, he said, and its beauty is present so that any admirer can enter into the house of God. Naturally, one’s eyes will be taken from the horizontal to the vertical, as the transcendental architectural qualities draw one closer to God, Smith said. 

“It’s gonna be something that will be intriguing to people. People are going to want to come inside and look at it, and it allows your heart and your mind to move upward,” Smith said.“That’s why beauty is so important, especially for our faith, it draws us to the heavens, it draws us toward God and outside of ourselves.” 

The beauty of the new church is meant to be a gift for others, architectural engineering senior Elizabeth Diamond said. Diamond is a member of the pastoral council at St. Mary’s and is able to sit in on staff meetings to hear about parish updates and provide a student’s perspective on life at St. Mary’s. Diamond said all students, even those not involved at the church, will be able to know who God is through the beauty of the church and that the church will help transform the current community. 

“I think even if people aren’t hungry to know the heart of their creator, beauty gives them a window into the heart of God,” Diamond said. “I think that’s something that really sets our community at St. Mary’s apart. We are a people hungry to know the heart of God, and I can only imagine how beauty that is meant to bring souls closer toward the Lord will make this community more alive.” 

It is a long standing Catholic tradition to touch the hearts of the people through the beauty found within architecture, and tradition is something important to both the Catholic Church and to Aggies. 

“I’m a second-generation Aggie,” Diamond said. “As Aggies, you’re raised to value tradition and taught to be part of something that is bigger than yourself, and I think that’s something we all value as Aggies. This new church helps remind Aggies that there is more tradition than just this university.” 

Sitting with a window view of the new church is Red-C Catholic Radio host Thaddeus Romansky who said he had the pleasure of watching the church go up, step by step. Romansky said he enjoys being part of something that will stand for generations to come and will help connect people to deep traditions within the Catholic Church. Romansky quoted a Church document, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which discusses the arts.

Holy Mother Church has therefore always been the friend of the fine arts and has ever sought their noble help, with the special aim that all things set apart for use in divine worship should be truly worthy, becoming and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world,” the document reads.

The new church brings about a sense of pride, being so substantial in size and beauty, Romansky said. 

The purpose of art is to turn men’s minds devoutly toward God, to leave the mundane and consider the eternal,” Romansky said. “I think that’s good for anyone’s soul.” 

The new church being built at St. Mary’s is for all to come and enjoy, Smith said. At the end of the 2023 spring semester of, the official opening will take place, and Smith said the community at St. Mary’s hopes to welcome the whole Bryan-College Station community into this new place of worship. 

“One of the good things about beauty is that it’s for all people, all can cherish it,” Smith said. “The church will have an impact on the greater community, and I think the church itself could help to point to those bigger questions in life of ‘What is our purpose here?’ and ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ and this church, in its beauty and in its grandeur, can remind anybody of that whether they’re faithful or not.” 
 

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