St. Patrick's Church

Symbols on the Sanctuary Ceiling

Above the sanctuary at St. Patrick's church are a number of symbols indicating what is taking place underneath it. In the sanctuary we celebrate the Liturgy of the Word, the story of salvation history. The Liturgy of the Word leads to the celebration of the Lord's Sacrifice in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Already present in His people, in His priest and through the ministry of the Word, Jesus becomes supremely and substantially present beneath the appearances of bread and wine. He is present as the sacrifice and food of the members of His Body, the Church. The symbols on the ceiling tell the story of the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist.

Celtic Cross

The cross is perhaps the best known of all Christian symbols. Stone crosses in this form dot the landscapes of Ireland and Scotland and are associated with the evangelization of these lands by St. Patrick.


The Chalice symbolizes the Holy Communion and the blood shed by Jesus on the cross. Reference to the Chalice Symbol in the Bible " Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." - Matt. 26:27

The Cross

This most common of all cruciforms reminds us of the supreme sacrifice offered by Jesus for the sins of the world. The cross is empty to remind us of the resurrection and the hope of eternal life. The shield actually has five crosses representing the five wounds of Jesus.

The Book and the Bell

The book is the Bible, the Word of God which is the story of salvation history. The bell signifies the ringing out of God's Word to all with ears to hear. The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are two parts of one celebration.

Chi Rho

The Chi Rho is one of the most ancient "sacred monograms" of Christ. They were developed by early Christians as a secret sign of their faith. This monogram is composed of the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (XPICTOC). It is Christ who is present in the substance of bread and wine


The insignia "IHS" comes from the Latinized version of the Greek ??s??? Jesus.  In Greek capitals this would be ??S??S or IHSOUS in Latin letters, taking the first three letters in capitals IHS(ous). This becomes a symbol of Jesus.

Lily and Carpenter's Square

Both symbols represent St. Joseph. The carpenter's square is a sign of his trade and the lily of sign of his purity.

Scourge and Pillar

The scourge is a symbol of Christ's Passion. It is often shown together with a pillar to which He may have been bound. Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. (John 19:1) NAB


The sponge is a symbol of Christ's Passion. There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.  When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. JOHN 19:29 NAB

Crown of Thorns and Nails

The crown of thorns is a symbol of Christ's Passion. The three nails represent the three nail used in Jesus' crucifixion, one in each hand and on in his feet.  Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak* about him.  Weaving a crown out of thorns,* they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" MT 27:27 NAB

M and Crown

The Symbol of the crown over the letter "M" honors Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church. The doctrine of the Assumption, celebrated on August 15th states that the immaculate, ever-virgin Mary was taken up, body and soul into heavenly glory when her life on earth had run its course. This teaches us that Mary was fully redeemed, that she experienced the resurrection of the body promised by Jesus Christ. The Church celebrates Her Queenship over Heaven and earth on August 22nd.

M and Cross

The letter "M" intertwined in the symbol of the Cross refers to the close relationship that Mary has with her Son, Jesus. Mary is given the title, "Advocate, Mediatrix, and Co-Redemptrix. Mary suffered the Passion along with Her Son just as Simeon had prophesied, "…and you, yourself a sword will pierce". Luke 2:35 Mary is a powerful intercessor for the faithful and for the Church today.