Church Interior Renewal Project
St. Peter Church is truly beautiful but had deteriorated from years of use and deferred maintenance. After a new roof was installed for the church building, the parish and interested parties set out to do more.
On December 25th, 2014, we are proud to say that the work to renew the interior of the church was finally completed with updated lighting, new flooring and pews, a repaired ceiling and a decorative scheme that encourages souls to reflect upon the heavenly dignity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The interior renewal enhances and showcases the church's traditional architecture and beauty. Such efforts may also assist the parish in petitioning for the title of minor basilica, an honor not yet bestowed on any church in the state of Nebraska.
We are also humbled to announce that, due to the incredible generosity of parishioners and interested parties like you, we received the monies necessary to pay for the $3.33 million renovation. The renowned firm Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc., which also provided the previous decorative schemes for St. Peter Church decades ago, once again worked with the pastor and parish to develop and execute a gorgeous plan.
There is still more work to be done on this mighty and historic church, including the restoration of the existing, dilipidated organ and necessary maintenance to the twelve stained glass windows to preserve them for another hundred years.
To make a donation to our ongoing efforts to repair and restore our church, simply click on the donation button below. Contact the parish office at (402) 341-4560 if you have further questions.
Inspired by Sacred Scripture, the new decorative schema for St. Peter Church borrows heavily from the images of the Temple in the Old Testament and the descriptions of the Heavenly Jerusalem from the Book of Revelation. It also pays tribute to the unique personage and theological importance of St. Peter.
St. Peter is our parish patron and so the colors of the faux marble pillars and Latin text surrounding the nave are taken from St. Peter Basilica in Rome, Italy. Blue and gold also showcase the colors most often associated with the person of St. Peter in sacred artwork. St. Peter is often depicted in blue with a mantle of gold or bright yellow, symbolic of Revealed Faith.
Because St. Peter was a fisherman and the Catholic Church is often called the Barque (boat) of St. Peter, various Christian maritime symbols occur in the flooring and around the windows. The marble in the new flooring simulates the waters flowing from the Heavenly Jerusalem in the vision given to the prophet Ezekiel. The nave, the part of the church in which the congregation sits, symbolically becomes the vessel, captained by the Vicar of Christ, that leads us to heaven (the word nave is actually taken from the Latin word for ship, navis).
The starry sky motif found in the new ceiling provides a vision of heaven. To see all of the stars unobstructed is to see the fullness of Revelation found in the Catholic Church.
The sanctuary symbolizes the shores of heaven upon which stand the faithful Apostles. They embody our Church's Apostolic Succession. Jesus Christ already stands in His glory in the center of the high altar with Ss. Peter and Paul, the two "lamp stands," at His sides (Rev. 11:3-4). Now the rest of the Twelve surround Him.
Palm trees, an artistic element found in countless Catholic churches, reflect the terrestrial flora of the Holy Land, the earthly Promised Land, and also the exotic beauty of heaven, the Eternal Promised Land. The Book of Revelation tells us that the multitudes of Saints and Martyrs in heaven carry palm branches in their hands as traditional symbols of victory (Rev. 7:9). These palm trees also echo the geometrical shapes and strongly vertical designs that have always pervaded the various incarnations of St. Peter Church's sanctuary.
Above the Apostles and palm trees reside nine angels adorned with the liturgical accoutrement mentioned in the Book of Revelation. In gold leaf around the frieze of the sanctuary are printed the words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. These are the Latin words sung unceasingly day and night to the Lord God Almighty in heaven (Rev. 4:8).
Above the sanctuary in the apse ceiling is a continuation of the celestial heavens. The "spokes" in the apse emphasize the source of all grace, the Holy Spirit in the familiar form of a dove.
Above the sanctuary and apse lies the proscenium in which the majestic cherubim, against a gold background, carry a banner that pays tribute to the whole of the Trinity. It reads in Latin Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit" reminds us of the Minor Doxology, or the Glory Be. It also reminds us that we begin every prayer in, with, and through the Blessed Trinity.
The rich, lucent, and reflective qualities of gold throughout the church remind us of the sun and symbolize the glory of God, His Shekinah. The use of blue and gold throughout the church interior pays tribute to the color scheme featured in the present-day church but intensifies it with more vibrant tones. The addition of comprehensive and architectural lighting, a permanent marble ambo and baptismal font, new pews, restrooms, and a new organ, if possible, complete the restoration, a restoration that will not only safeguard the legacy of St. Peter Church for another century but reveal the heavenly qualities of the sacred liturgy.