In Charlottesville, Virginia, the new St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish Church is taking shape! / by Ethan Anthony

I visited St Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlottesville, Virginia on the 16th to attend the weekly project meeting. These photos capture the state of the construction mid-April 2019. After an extraordinarily wet winter and spring held construction behind schedule, warm weather has finally arrived and the speed of events is beginning to pick up .


The copper-clad cupola atop the central dome was placed just two weeks ago and was gleaming in the sun. On entering the parking lot which is at the front of the Parish building below the church, one sees it sparkling above the brick Parish building.


The view from Alderman road conceals that fact that matching the existing Parish Building floor level required the church to be set into the hill below the level of Alderman Road. The full interior height of the church is not discernible on the Alderman Road elevation helping the church to fit in with the scale of the surrounding residential neighborhood.


On the interior of the church we see how the nave is quite large with the dome soaring above the future crossing. The dome rises 55 feet above the nave floor and the top of the cross is 74 feet above the floor. The dome will be roofed in copper as is the cupola and recalls the rotunda at the University Campus nearby.


The transept visible from Alderman Road will have three great Romanesque windows that will eventually be filled with religious glass.


Where formerly there was a bridge from Alderman Road to the church entrance now has been filled and a retaining wall now creates a gracious entrance plaza and a memorial rose garden will be planted in the space along the side of the church.



Brickwork has begun, a brick and mortar color chosen and a portion of one wall has been laid up for the architect to view and it was approved during my visit.

Father Barranger with the new Tabernacle for the church, handmade in Spain.

Father Barranger with the new Tabernacle for the church, handmade in Spain.