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The Church Grounds
104 Linden Street, Northfield- the location of St. Dominic’s church- serves as a tangible reminder of the history and development of this small, rural town. The church grounds span from the north end of Linden Street to the north end of Spring Streets (the bottom east edge of the parking lot).
The church and surrounding grounds serve as a physical reminder of community for many parishioners. The railway tracks that run north to south through the lower edge of this lot, and the train whistle which can be heard during church activities, is a reminder of the town’s endurance and sheer grit. On the west side of the hill, the church is adjacent to a residential neighborhood, a constant reminder of the growth that the town has seen over the past decades.
A large parking lot surrounds the main sanctuary. During “work days”, parish members from both congregations spend time mulching, weeding, and pruning together.
On the northwest corner of the property sits the Rectory, comprised of a home with two apartments. This is the only residence on the lot, and Father Denny and one other family inhabit this old structure (built in 1914). Surrounding this residence sits an inviting well-mulched garden with chives and mint.
The large sanctuary, that around five hundred parishioners frequent every week, sits on the southwest corner of the property, and opens into the lowest tier of the parking lot for easy accessibility. Most parishioners enter the church through the main entrance on the north side of the building or enter via Linden Street.
Inside the sanctuary, parishioners enter and linger in a narrow hallway before mass. There is a social hall area connected through an alcove to the large church kitchen, where volunteer parishioners prepare meals on Wednesdays for Faith Formation as well as on other occasions.
The large sanctuary is located to the right of the hallway. As congregants enter this space, is it apparent that this room is home to many people of different heritages. On display are religious images and objects including a large portrait of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. A small glass alcove that holds vessels of chrism (holy oil) and holy water adorn a large pillar near the sanctuary doors.
The altar sits about three feet above the congregation, separated by steps of polished stone. There is a lectern and a table on the altar, and an ornate chair. A long tapestry provides a backdrop to the altar, and the simple colored cloth changes seasonally. For special celebrations, such as Easter Mass, bright colored cloth stands in stark contrast with the maroon and mahogany colored space giving the sanctuary a more festive feel. The tapestry stretches all the way to the ceiling behind a simple wooden cross. There are flowers in front of the pews which face the altar. The church musicians sit to the south of the altar. Above the choir, a large projector screen hangs, and parishioners are encouraged to utilize this screen to sing hymns and recite prayers during Mass.