Sanctuary and Main Altar — Holy Cross Church, West Sacramento

The sanctuary is located in a squared apse on the west end of the building beneath a paneled wood ceiling baffle with the inscription “IHS” (Greek monogram of Iesous Christos, or Jesus Christ) signifying the central figure in the story of the Holy Cross. The back wall of the sanctuary is designed to accommodate long drapes in the color of the liturgical season to provide a fitting backdrop for the central area of the Mass.

The colors of violet for Advent and Lent; white for the Christmas and Easter Seasons; or green for Ordinary Time, add symbolism and variety to the location of the Holy Sacrifice. On the wall ahead of a white lace curtain is a life-size Crucifix bearing the lifeless body of Jesus elevated approximately half way up the back wall and is the focus of the entire church. The body is naked with exception of a small loin cloth, and bears streams of blood from the wounds inflicted on His head, hands, side, knees and feet. His thorn-crowned head hangs in death with eyes closed. The detailed corpus is nailed beneath a parchment bearing “INRI” (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”). The emphasis on the Crucifix is enhanced by the two raised platforms holding the altar tables. The attention moves from the main altar table on the single-step platform, up two steps to the back-altar and golden tabernacle and then onto the Crucifix and the “IHS” overhead.

The marble back-altar above and behind the main altar platform holds the golden tabernacle next to a red-vased sanctuary candle. The domed tabernacle is encircled by decorative edging of clam shells. The operable doors are decorated with cross arms of equal length and raised images of grapes on the brass enclosure of the Holy Eucharist. On either side are banners associated with the relevant liturgical season, in this case, Advent.

The simple, but central, main altar table is faced with cream-colored marble and adorned with a lace-colored cloth; and holds only a book stand for the Roman Missal. Free-standing candle holders are spaced throughout the sanctuary including on either side of the main altar.

The side walls of the sanctuary contain clear windows outlined with three pointed-arches continuing the Gothic arch motif seen on the façade. Also in the sanctuary is the ambo used for the readings and the Homily.

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