The architect was John Sutherland. The interior is centred, as is right, on the altar of Creetown granite. There is an immense figure of Christ in majesty on the Cross over looking the large sanctuary area. The original wooden pulpit, shaped like the prow of a ship, reminding us of the barque of Peter, was replaced on 28th February 2011 on the first anniversary of the untimely death of of Canon John Walls, parish priest from 1997. It is modelled on the altar and has been constructed of Creetown granite in his memory. The large Sanctuary area is ideal for the celebration of today’s liturgy, although the Church was opened in 1958, before the liturgical adaptations of the Second Vatican Council, it was a very simple task to bring it in line with today’s way of celebrating the Eucharist.
The roofing of the church and the 101 foot spire were carried out with Westmoreland slates and the spire soars majestically in a very contemporary style over the town of Dumfries.
The single window in the Baptistry (by William Wilson) shows Our Lord being baptised by St John the Baptist. The window is in the richly coloured conventional style of 13th Century French glass. The glowing red figure of Christ is set against the cool blues and greens of the background and stylised river in which there is a fish, an early Christian symbol.
ST JOSEPH’S WINDOW (WILLIAM WILSON)
The stained glass window outside the Baptistery represents St Joseph as a carpenter at his workbench.. Beside him, holding out his hands, suggesting the Cross, is the boy Jesus. Nails and pincers, tools of the carpenter’s trade, recall the Crucifixion.
THE MOSAIC IN THE CHAPEL OF OUR LADY (BY JOHN KINGSLEY COOK)
This represents Our Blessed Lady as she appeared in the Grotto at Masabielle in Lourdes. Below the figure on the right of the shrine is the miraculous spring which was revealed to St. Bernadette. The words “Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou” I am the Immaculate Conception, are the words spoken to Bernadette in the French patois of the locality in 1858, the year of the apparitions.
The mosaic is in enamel tesserae from Venice, together with green marbles from Sweden, pink and ivory from Italy, granite from Creetown, Caenstone from France, red sandstone from Locharbriggs, pebbles from the Solway shores and two pieces of grey stone from the actual grotto of Masabielle.
The mosaic is a modern example of a method of working “in situ” first practised in the 5th Century in Rome and probably unique in Scotland. Working with three assistants, it was carried out by the artist in three weeks.
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
These are contained in a frieze of carved sycamore, extending 50 feet along the Church, and suspended from a mahogany beam. They are by Norman J. Forrest.
THE SHRINE OF ST TERESA
A life sized carved figure of St. Teresa turned slightly towards the light, and her promised “shower of roses” around her. Her empty hands symbolise her vow of poverty and her outstretched arms her “Little Way” of self-surrender. Again the sculptor was Norman J. Forrest.
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