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St. Dominic's Catholic Church
2390 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94115, 415-567-7824, info@stdominics.org

Sermon In Stone

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Arnold Sutherland Constable, the architect of St. Dominic's, was born in England. He brought with him a knowledge and love of the English Gothic style when he moved to Seattle and began work with the architectural firm of Beezer Brothers. He designed this church and much of its decoration, including the High Altar and the Baptismal font.

The High Altar was carved of botticino marble at Pietrasanta, Italy and shipped to the United States in 76 crates. The altar suffered damage in transit and was repaired in San Francisco by Albert Bernasconi. The front of the altar carries a relief carving of Fra Angelico's famous painting of St. Dominic at the foot of the Cross of Christ. Surrounding this center are statues of the 12 apostles and saints. The altar in the Lady Chapel is of Carrara marble obtained through Amadeo Magnini of Florence.

The Edmund Schmid Woodcarving Studio of Oberammergau, Germany, carved the oak altars and shrines and the confessionals. The Holy Name Altar was signed by Edmund Schmid.

Alphonse Peeters et Fils of Liege, Belgium, carved the statues of the Blessed Mother in the Lady Chapel, the angels under the rood beam, Sts. Catherine, Antoninus, Anthony, Pius V and Martin de Porres, the Dominican saints in the ambulatory around the sanctuary, St. Rose of Lima in the Lady Chapel, Sts. Francis and Dominic at the main interior doors.

B. Van Uytvanck et Fils of Louvain, Belgium, created the statues of Christ the King in the apse arch, the Rosary group at the shrine, St. Therese of Lisieux of the Child of Jesus at the Holy Name Altar and the angels in the Baptistry.

The crucifixion group on the rood beam was produced for the second St. Dominic's Church. With the Pieta and the Stations of the Cross, it was saved from the earthquake ruins of 1906 and reinstalled in the present chruch in 1928.

The stained glass windows in the apse, the Lady Chapel, the sides of the transepts and most of the small windows in St. Dominic's are by Charles J. Connick of Boston, whose signature appears on several. The last of these windows was installed in 1936 by the Cummings Studios of San Francisco, who also made at least one of the windows. Max Ingrand of Paris created the windows that line the nave as well as the large west window and those on the north and south sides of the transepts and the suite of small windows in the sacristy. These were installed between 1964 and 1973.

The pipe organ was built in Boston, Massachusetts in 1909 and was housed in the temporary church on Pierce Street before being moved into the current structure. Over the Lady Chapel, opening into the Choir Stalls, there is a room nearly four stories tall that contains almost 4,000 pipes ranging in size from thirty-two feet long to others smaller than a pencil. The lowest notes in the organ produce a tone that vibrates at sixteen cycles per second. The organ is registered with the Organ Historical Society as one of the most important, historical instruments in the country.

The most recent artistic addition to the church are the twelve wrought steel crosses, affixed to ten pillars and in the transepts. They were crafted for our church in 1992 by Roger Yearout Metalsmithing of San Francisco for the dedication of St. Dominic's Church.

This love of the work itself, of the materials, of the process of creation is the glory of St. Dominic's Church. Each piece of art is an individual treasure. Together they form this exquisite offering of prayer and praise.

In 1926, an anonymous Dominican wrote of the church then being built:

TRULY IT IS A SERMON IN STONE.

 


Diagram of St. Dominic's Church

Dimensions of St. Dominic's Church
Length: 23W (front door to back of ambulatory)
Width at transept: 122'
Width of nave: 39'
Inside height: 90' (from nave floor to ceiling peak)
Tower: 130' (post-earthquake)

 


Stained Glass Windows

Main Church

Apse
A. Matrimony: The Holy Family
B. Holy Orders: Melchizedek, Jeremiah
C. The Eucharist: Moses, Dias
D. Baptism: St. Philip, Confirmation, St. John
E. The Crucifixion: David, Isaias
F. Penance: The Penitent Woman, St. Peter
G. The Sacrament of the Sick: The woman with the issue of blood and the man with palsy

North Transept
H. Sts. Paul & Augustine
I. Notable Dominicans
J. Sts.Remigius and Boniface
K. St. Patrick

North Nave
L. Faith: Abraham, St. Peter Martyr
M. Fortitude: Samson, St. John of Gorcum
N. Prudence: Sts. Joseph, Louis Bertrand
O. Hope: Jeremiah St. Pious V
P. Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Tobias, St Catherine dei Ricci, O.P.
Q. Christ with Martyrs in Glory (Side North Balcony)
R. Christ, triumphant over death (Balcony)
S. The Assumptions angel, Mary and 12 apostles (Side South Balcony)
T. Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Sts. James & Thomas Aquinas, O.P. U.

South Nave
Temperance: Sts. John the Baptist & Catherine of Siena, O.P.
V. Justice: Samuel, St. Raymond of Penafort O.P.
W. Charity: Sts. Peter, Antoninus, O.P.
X. Twelve Apostles (as Dominicans)
Y. Sts. Joachim & Anne

Lady Chapel
a. Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary: Mary
b. Sorrowful Mysteries: Christ
c. Glorious Mysteries, St. Dominic, O.P.

Baptistry
d. St. Michael
e. Angel Gabriel & Zechariah
f. Jesus & St. John the Baptist
g. Jesus with the deaf & dumb man
h. St. Raphael

 


Statues and Carvings

High Altar
Left: Sts. Matthew, Andrews, Stephen, Gregory the Great John, Peter
Right: Sts. Erasmus, Saturnitus, Bartholomew, Thomas, Mathias, James the Less
Center: St. Dominic at the foot of the Cross (stylized from a Fra Angelico painting)

Altar sides
Right: Sts. Catherine de Ricci, O.P., Thomas Aquinas, O.P.
Left: Sts. Agnes of Montepuciano, O.P., John of Gorcum, O.P.

Pulpit Base
Left to Right: St. Matthew, St. Mark, Christ, St. Luke, St. John

Ambulatory
1. St. Catherine of Siena, O.P.
2. St. Antonius, O.P.
3. St. Martin de Porres, O.P.
4. St. Anthony of Padua, OFM
5. St. Pius V, O.P.
6. Christ the King

Lady Chapel
7. St. Anne
8. St. Joachim
9. Carving above altar: Mary
10. St. Rose of Lima ,O.P.

Sacred Heart Altar
David and Constantine
Left: Sts. John the Evangelist, Rose of Lima, O.P.
Right: Blessed Henry Suso, O.P., St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Rosary Altar
Mary with Christ, Sts. Dominic, Catherine of Siena, O.P.

St. Thomas Aquinas Altar
Left: Sts. Augustine, Catherine of Alexandria:
Right: Sts. Albert the Great, O.P.; Bonaventure, OFM
11. St. Martin de Poores, O.P.

St. Jude Shrine
12. St. Francis Assisi
13. St. Dominic de Guzman O.P.

Altar of Our Lady of Purgatory
14. St. Rose of Lima O.P.

Bl. Imeda Lambertini Altar
Left: Sts. Tarsicius, Agnes
Right: Sts. Pancratius, Barbara

Pieta

St. Joseph Altar
Left: St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P.; Anne
Right: Sts. Teresa of Avila; Joachim
15. St. Terese of Lisieux

Altar of the Holy Name

Rood Beam: Crucifixion Group

Baptistry
16. Bas Relief over entrance doors (outside): Sermon on the Mount

Confessional Door Carvings
Christ's mercy and humankind's war for reconciliation portrayed in scenes from the parables of the New Testament.

Angels
Angels are throughout the Church symbolizing the world beyond humanity

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