St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Architecture & Grounds

The Last Judgement

The current St. Thomas the Apostle Church building dates to 1929 as evidenced by the cornerstone on the southwest corner of the church. The exterior walls are faced with locally-sourced red bricks from the old Lund’s Brick Plant in Palermo, about six miles from Oroville. The double-story-high structure has Romanesque features with a tall, adjoining tower marked by rounded-arch windows on the west; and a majestic entrance featuring a scened-tympanum beneath a triangular pediment over the double-doors leading inside.


The tympanum with semicircular patterns of floral and geometric designs surrounds an image of a bearded God the Father holding a scroll of the Last Judgment while angels holding a candle and a book kneel and bow on either side. The scene is reminiscent of many Scripture verses about the Last Judgment, including this passage from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor 5:10) The façade is also embellished with a large, round “rose window” picturing the image of the patron, St. Thomas. The red-tile-roofed rectangular base structure is shaded by large redwood trees and a tall palmetto palm tree while decorative evergreen spires flank the front of the building.

The church occupies only part of the full city block site acquired over the years as separate parcels as the parish grew. In 1951, the present rectory on 1st Street was built and in 1955 St. Thomas School was opened, both projects under the direction of Father Michael J. Fitzgerald.

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