A Brief History of the Dome

History of the Dome

The Dome installed in our sanctuary this summer is the result of a decade long process led by a dedicated team of visionaries—Bishops, Pastors, Parishioners, Designers—intent on creating a piece of sacred art that would draw in and inspire the faithful as well as those seeking, now and into perpetuity. What began in 2006 is now a joyful reality. Here is a brief story about how it all came to fruition.

Maestro Romano Cosci, an internationally renowned religious artist from Italy, was commissioned to develop early drawings of the Dome design created by Rohn and Associates under the direction of the St. John Neumann Art and Environment committee and turn them into the final full size drawings. In a warehouse in Pietrasanta, Italy (a town where Michelangelo once worked,) a “mock dome wall” was built that was the same size and curvature as a section of our dome. The paper used as the initial “backing” for the mosaic tiles was hung from the mock wall and Maestro Cosci began the process of making the full size drawings. He used a rolling scaffolding/ladder to reach much of the drawing area. Other times he drew with his charcoal taped to the end of a long pole. This took him almost two years to complete. The committee worked closely with him during this process and saw first-hand the incredible faith and love he put into his work.

Mellini Art Glass and Mosaics, based in Florence, Italy, was commissioned for the mosaic fabrication and installation. A team of Mellini mosaic artists working with the committee and Rohn and Associates then chose 1,300 specific colors and shades of smalti glass mosaic tiles, three hundred of which were specifically fabricated for our dome. Working in the warehouse in Pietrasanta, Mellini’s team then hand chiseled and glued over ten million pieces of mosaic tile onto the drawings that appear above you today. This took ten artists nearly three years to complete.

It is our sincere hope that, through the language of beauty, the theology reflected in the dome and the design of the interior of our sanctuary as a whole, parishioners and visitors will be touched by the beauty of God, be uplifted, and be able to pray more deeply in furtherance of their goal to reach toward heaven and the divine. Today we celebrate and offer special prayers and sincere thanks to all who participated in any way in helping to make this incredible blessing for our parish and our community a reality.


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