When the three large cast bells ring above the newly constructed Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach this weekend, the sounds will serve as a long-awaited welcome sign to the community.
Located next door to the original Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, which was built in 1961, the newly constructed church is a detailed blend of long-standing Catholic traditions with improved architectural features. The church was designed by world-renowned architectural firm AC Martin and took about 18 months to construct. On Saturday at 10 a.m., there will be a special dedication mass at the church.
"It's a timeless blend of the old and new," Father Kerry Beaulieu, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, said. "You get the feeling of being in an old church, but you get the new and improved features."
Parishioners will find a lot of upgrades including a sloped floor to give everyone a good view of the altar, retractable pew kneelers which cut back on noise, eye-level Stations of the Cross and a large crucifix which were taken from the original church. Beaulieu says keeping original fixtures is important to the Catholic faith.
"People have prayed with this crucifix and Stations of the Cross for 47 years, and its part of their idea of Jesus," Beaulieu explained. "They come with their joys and sorrows, they've celebrated Christmas', baptisms, weddings, funerals, Easters so they symbolize their faith and their relationship with God."
Other amenities of the new church include wheelchair accessible features throughout the building, measures to safeguard against earthquakes, a large, steel structure supporting the arched ceiling of the church, 11-foot-high doors made of steel and onyx, a white marble altar at the center of the church, 30,000 pieces of stone, seven stained glass windows, a large fountain and orange trees in the church courtyard, just to name a few.
"It's a sanctuary for the soul, everyone is welcome. You don't have to be of the Catholic faith," Beaulieu said.
The building of the new church was made possible through a partnership with St. Mark Presbyterian Church. After many discussions, the Presbyterians agreed to relocate their church to Macarthur and San Joaquin Hills Road and make way for the new Our Lady Queen of Angels Church.
Beaulieu says the community was tremendous in cooperating with all the changes.
"There has been a lot going on here for a long time, with construction and workers and our neighbors have been very gracious," Beaulieu said. "I am very thankful to them."
Masses will be held at the new church beginning this weekend. The original Our Lady Queen of Angels Church will be dismantled in February to make way for a new church parking lot.
Our Lady Queen of Angels Church is located at 2046 Mar Vista Dr.
Be sure to watch the time-lapse video to see the construction process of the church.