St. Mary’s Church, Sacramento, CA

The lighthouse bell tower visible from the Hwy 50 exit road to Folsom Boulevard has been a beacon of faith, and curiosity, since the church was constructed in 1947 at, what was then, the edge of suburban development in East Sacramento. Today the unique architectural structure sits along with a busy school campus which is a big part of the active parish.

The exterior appearance of St. Mary’s Church is unforgettable with its rectilinear emphasis and an over 50-foot lighthouse bell tower on the north side serving as a signaler of faith, if not sound. The unique design by a prominent Sacramento architect, Clarence Cuff, is made of reinforced concrete masonry with white marble facing and the words “ST. MARY’S CHURCH” emblazoned in gold lettering across the front. The entrance to the church from 58th street is dramatically posed between old-style lampposts and matching boxwood hedges aside a towering pine. A wide walkway leads to the rigid canopy at the front entrance supported by two-story pillars symmetrically framing a beautiful golden-mosaic niche holding an image of Our Lady of Grace donated in the memory of parishioners’ parents of Italian descent. The front, sides and tower have many rectangular openings for stained-glass windows with gold tracery hinting of the interior beauty.

The interior of the church is a wonderful place to worship at a formal service or in private prayer and is graced with a star-studded blue backdrop to the sanctuary holding a glowing niche of the parish patroness, St. Mary. Inside one will also find many stained-glass windows full of color and stories; and an overhead canopy painting of a blue sky filled with clouds. The church has many sacred images and artifacts important to people of Italian heritage, particularly the intimate Infant Mary Chapel, as the parish initially served primarily Italian-Americans.

Today the diverse parish holds many well-attended liturgical events including 8 a.m. Masses on weekdays, a 5 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass and three Masses on Sundays. The parish was served by priests from the Order of the Oblates of St. Joseph (OSJ) founded by St. Joseph Marello (1844-1895) until 2003, and is now served by priests of the Order of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) who’s first Superior General was St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871). These priestly Saints are honored with photographs and plaques on the back wall of the nave.

Address: 1333 58th Street, Sacramento, CA 95819
Phone: (916) 452-0296
Website: https://www.stmarysacto.org/

References
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St. Mary’s Parish. Celebrating 100 Years, St. Mary, Our Mother – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, 1906 – 2006.

Sanctuary and Main Altar – St. Mary’s Church, Sacramento, CA

The focal point of the building design and the Eucharistic Celebration is the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a heavenly niche beautifully highlighted within a star-studded, sky-blue apse beneath a spanning archway. The statue of Mary in a gold-trimmed white cape and robins-egg-blue sash show her looking upward with hands folded in prayer.

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