St. Mary's Church

Client: St. Mary’s Parish

Location: Red Deer, Alberta

Area: 13,150 sq. ft.

Cost: $300 000

Completed: 1968

With the Vatican Concilium II in 1963, the Catholic Church went through a radical modernization. In these exciting times, Father Merx had a vision of a church that could carry the very abstraction of the Spirit of the Church, past present and future. He hired Architect Douglas Cardinal and together while listening to Bach’s organ music they designed a church around the new liturgy.

The church thus stands as a monument to spirituality. Based on the ideas of the first Christian gatherings before the cruciform basilica plan was created, Father Merx environed a design centered in the Eucharist, the symbol of Christ’s Living. An oculus to the altar and the tabernacle directs natural light as a symbol of divine light. The amorphous ceiling, a technical feat of the times, creates the acoustics to carry the Word of Christ without microphones. Even the confessional’s unique design using tempered glass to allow in the light of the altar inspires deep spiritual reconciliation.

Archbishop Jordan consecrated the church as a Cathedral in 1968. The aesthetical and technical innovations of this church awarded immediate national and international recognition to Douglas Cardinal’s career. St. Mary’s church is a masterpiece that conveys deep reconciliation and introspection as allows close gathering of a community.