INSTAURARE OMNIA IN CHRISTO. “To restore all things in Christ.” This was the papal motto of Pope St. Pius X and was the inspiration for the design of the parish church of St. Pius X, North Vancouver, consecrated in a most solemn ceremony on November 24, 1984 by His Grace, Archbishop James Carney.
St. Pius X parish is nestled in one of the most spectacularly scenic locations of North Vancouver, with a combination of mountains, forests, and streams at its doorstep. The awe-inspiring sight of Indian Arm and Deep Cove, where boaters of all kinds revel, all contribute to make St. Pius X parish so special. In addition, the architectural design of the Church, the Grotto with Michelangelo’s Pieta, the Ecological Christ, and the Columbarium, make it a sanctuary of prayer and giving of self to God.
The style of the church is based on the Romanesque churches of Northern Italy, so familiar to Pope St. Pius X himself. Geographically facing east, in the tradition of most ancient churches, the building benefits all day from the progress of the sun. In the morning the apsidal shrine of the Holy Eucharist catches the light on the east end; all day the light enters the nave by the clerestory; and in the evening of a sunny day, the light falls on the high altar from the ‘rose window’ of the west front.
The Baptistry is on the north-west corner, in the traditional position, as the north represents the pagan world, and the west the place of entry to the east, i.e. to the altar and therefore to communion with God. It has three windows in honour of the Blessed Trinity, and the font is reached by descending three steps, representing burial with Christ.
The high altar is raised above the nave floor by 3 steps and is made of Italian marble with a gilded IHS carved on its west front, proclaiming that our Divine Lord here sacrifices Himself for us and is the source and summit of the Church’s life. Directly beyond the altar, and thus related to, is the shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, making clear both that Christ reigns in the highest place and the Blessed Sacrament is the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice.
The entire structure rests on 12 pillars representing the 12 apostles, and the thrust of the roof is contained by buttresses on the side aisles. Around the walls can be seen the 12 marble crosses where the church was anointed with Chrism.