Heritage Restoration and Design was contracted to provide interior furnishings to the new St. Anthony of Padua church among the Centennial Hills in Las Vegas, Nevada. After waiting ten years with a rapidly growing parish community, they were finally able to build. Due to the community’s large size and small budget, the parish was unable to build both a church and pastoral center, so the new building was to be utilized for both purposes. Heritage came up with innovative techniques to create a space which could be used interchangeably as both a place of worship and a parish hall. This was accomplished by creating furnishings which both served traditional liturgical purposes but could also be easily stored as needed.
One of the project’s greatest feats was to create a place of worship which accommodated the traditional form of the Mass while still blending in with the more modern “mission style” of the church. Heritage was able to work with different designs to find a perfect blend of the traditional and the modern for the parish’s specific needs. All the furnishings were designed to be movable, with the exception of the high altar which was structured with triptych doors (each weighing close to 300 pounds), enabling it to be closed when not in use.
The people were in awe,” he stated. “[In the Hispanic culture], when they are very happy, they will clap. They gave a standing ovation.” Rev Robert Puhlman, Pastor – St Anthony of Padua Church
Over the course of the project, Heritage Restoration manufactured and installed the following furnishings to St. Anthony’s Church:
In the sanctuary, Heritage installed a large crucifix. Underneath, the custom triptych wooden high altar and sacrificial altar were installed. Large doors, containing hand-tooled metal icons of adoring angels, were hinged on the sides of the high altar, enabling it to be closed to protect the tabernacle when the room was not serving as a church. The high altar also held a tabernacle box and a large mural of St. Anthony of Padua, the church’s patron saint.
The sacrificial altar was custom movable and made of wood with marbleized columns. On the front, Heritage hand-painted a relief carving of the Last Supper. This altar was on wheels that locked into place, enabling it to be rolled in and out of the sanctuary for Mass times. It also accommodated the traditional form of the Mass without a sacrificial altar.
The baptismal font and pulpit were constructed of wood with marbleized columns – a process by which wood is finished to look like real marble, making it more cost effective and mobile. An ornate wood presider’s chair and wooden candlesticks with brass sockets and marbleized components were installed as well. The candlesticks could be easily removed from their bases for processions.
Heritage painted additional murals for the altar backdrop to be changed out with the liturgical seasons. Other furnishings included wood kneelers with green padded cushions, deacon’s chairs and stools, and several hundred wood chairs with red cushions for the congregation. The chairs are designed to have removable kneelers, making them stackable. A circular stained glass window of St. Anthony having a vision of the Child Jesus was also installed. Heritage selected this image because it is the most iconic and meaningful depiction of St. Anthony in traditional artworks.
In addition, Heritage constructed a wooden side chapel altar with tabernacle (bearing a carved paschal lamb relief), a sanctuary lamp, a monstrance stand, custom canvas stations of the Cross (with wood frames, gold roman numerals, and crosses), a Baroque wooden statue base, painted gold with a marbleized top surface, and restored a 150 year old 6’ plaster statue of St. Anthony. A mosaic for the exterior of the church was erected, depicting St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus. Each of these items was carved, manufactured, painted, shipped to the site, and installed for the client.
Article written by Anna Berlinger.