Mosaics are small pieces of tile or glass which are arranged to form an image. They have been used as decoration since Roman times and were an important form of art in early Christian churches. St. Peter Church is graced with several mosaics in and around the sanctuary.
The mosaic on the left side of the back altar depicts a mother pelican feeding her baby pelicans. The symbolism of the pelican is rooted in an ancient legend that preceded Christianity. The legend is that the mother pelican fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in the end lost her own life. This tradition was adapted by early Christians as a symbol of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The mother pelican symbolizes Jesus as our Redeemer who gave his life for our redemption through His passion and death. We were dead to sin sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ and continue to be nourished with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.
The Bread and Wine
The center mosaic on the back altar depicts the Holy Eucharist. In this mosaic, we see a chalice with grapes representing the wine and a communion wafer. Two doves representing the Holy Spirit are coming down to partake of these gifts, symbolizing how the Holy Spirit comes down during the consecration to convert the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The location of this mosaic in the center of the altar directly beneath the tabernacle is representative of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic faith.
The mosaic on the right side of the back altar depicts a phoenix rising from flames. In mythology, the phoenix was a majestic and beautiful bird with feathers and plumes of all colors which lived in Arabia. According to legend, only one phoenix was allowed to live on earth at a time. and it would live for about 500 years. When it was time for the bird to die, it would build a nest of spices and herbs then set the nest on fire and sit within the flames to die. As the embers died down, a new phoenix would rise out of the ashes. For early Christians, the phoenix became a symbol for the resurrection of Jesus. At St. Peter Church the phoenix takes on a second meaning. In addition to representing Jesus, the phoenix represents the parish itself rising from the ashes of the fire in 1957 which destroyed the old church building.
Located on the front of the ambo, this mosaic depicts a lighted candle. This candle represents Christ, the Light of the World, illuminating the darkness by preaching the Word of God.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Occupying the niche to the right of the sanctuary is a mosaic honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This mosaic depicts Jesus Christ with His heart literally on fire with love for His disciples. It is a representation of divine love and serves as one of the most widely practiced devotions in the Catholic Church.