St. Therese Church of the Little Flower
Reno, NV 89502
Wow, you want to talk about a stunning church! You’ve got to check out the bell-tower church on the corner of Plumb and Kietzke lanes. I’m just guessing here, so don’t burst my bubble with your official traffic studies, but it’s got to be the highest profile church in Northern Nevada—and yet, I’ve never been in there except for a wedding wa-a-ay back in my bartending days.
At any rate, with wholly sober eyes, I was quite impressed with the majesty of the church. Sorry, if that’s not the right word, but it kinds of hits it for me. The Catholics really know how to do the ritual aspect of religion as something that’s bigger than humanity; sort of mysterious and beyond understanding. On an almost subconscious level, it’s like how the organ in the church isn’t out in plain sight, but you can still hear the music. Or the way the bells, which are rung at the consecration of the bread and wine, are suspended on the wall, and you don’t see anyone ringing them.
The building is roughly circular in shape, with a roof higher over the midpoint and sloping down to the edges. The sanctuary is roughly semi-circular, surrounded by the foyer. The altar occupies the space below the midpoint. It’s a small, unostentatious semi-circular altar. On the wall, above and behind, a wooden statue of Jesus with embracing arms (as opposed to flung wide, but without the cross). Below the statue are five burgundy colored chairs, tallest in the middle out to smallest on either side. There’s a simple stone altar front and center and a lectern spread out on either side of it. There were about six large bouquets, three below the wooden statue and three to the right of the altar, where the crucifix and candles landed after the procession into the sanctuary. There were more statues and candle stations out from the altar.
The ceiling was supported by huge beams radiating out from the midpoint. There were 14 of them, I believe, with a row of stained glass as the center ray. Rimming the ceiling was a row of stained glass windows that positively glowed when the light hit them just right during the 10 a.m. mass. I couldn’t hazard a guess as to exactly how many people would fit in the sanctuary, 500-700, and I would guess it was 80-90 percent full on Sunday. And what a congregation. This was the most multi-culti congregation Hunter and I have seen in our travels. It’s always interesting to me how homogenous many congregations are—not just things like race or language, but things like age and apparent financial equity.
That Sunday morning was the Feast of Christ the King and, while disparate, the kingship theme ran through the readings from 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Colossians 1:12-20, and Luke 23:35-43. This was also the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
Father Honesto Agustin spoke about the kingly theme, moving tangentially into how we humans show our respect for the king by how we treat his special places (like the church). He encouraged people to take care when they are within the church and mentioned that sometimes candy wrappers and water bottles could be found after the service.
The father reminded me of our parish priest when I was a kid in Catholic school. I imagine priests attached to schools must have lessons to teach that other pastors don’t. I mean, how do you teach a kid to respect things like tradition and a Creator when the world seems to be trying to teach them not to?