Churches: St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Caledonia, MN

The original St. Mary’s Catholic Church was built in 1872 and the narthex and bell tower added in the 1920s. In the early 1990s, the parish embarked on a spiritual journey to renew their venerable church to current post Vatican II principals. The parish and River Architects orchestrated a detailed process that surveyed their history, evaluated the structural integrity of the present facility, developed a Vision Statement, scrutinized the liturgical documents, and then proceeded to the design and implementation stages.

The key design idea was the addition of transepts on the sides of the building to create a cruciform plan. This concept allows the seating to be around the Sanctuary on three sides, and moves the seating much closer to the raised, barrier free Sanctuary. The new Gathering Area is located in the expanded former Narthex and has sliding glass panels to open this area to the Nave when required. The transept additions were detailed to complement the original architecture creating a flawless integration of old and new.