The main church is arranged in a cruciform layout. The nave and both transepts are used for congregational seating, and the rear gallery is used as overflow seating when needed. The north transept faces the crossing, while the south transept faces forward (east) toward a second altar, allowing it to function as an attached chapel. The south transept also contains a large stained glass window depicting Jesus as the "Good Shepherd". The Good Shepherd window backs up to the organ chamber, which prevents natural light from illuminating it, so it is lit artificially from behind.
The chancel is divided into three distinct sections. The first is where the pulpit, lectern, and seating for the clergy are found. The pulpit is on the left (north) side of the chancel, and the lectern on the right (south) side. The presider sits on the right side, but to the left of the pulpit, facing the center. The subdeacon and one assisting priest sit behind him on the other side of the pulpit. The acting deacon sits on the opposite (north) side with the preacher behind. All of the clergy sit facing across the chancel.
The next section of the chancel contains the choir stalls. The stalls face the center and have three rows on either side of the chancel which increase in height moving out from the center. They can comfortably seat around 40 people and are outfitted with seated-height music racks.
The third section of the chancel is the proper sanctuary. Its focal point is the carved wood altar with its gold leafing and relief carvings. On the north side of the sanctuary sits the cathedra, along with two benches. In the north wall is the aumbry, which is used for the reservation of the Sacrament. On the opposite wall are three more seats. Dividing the sanctuary from the chancel are wooden altar rails with red embroidered kneelers. Communion is distributed continuously, but kneeling is still expected for those who are able.
Above the chancel on the north side is the organ loft. The large console of the Noack organ faces away from the chancel, requiring the use of either a television monitor or a series of mirrors for the organist to see the conductor below. Directly opposite the loft on the south wall is the organ itself. The Gothic facade speaks directly across the space, and the chamber extends straight back to the same depth as the south transept (obscuring the stained glass). The chamber takes up the entire square space on the southeast corner of the main church.
The nave has a single central aisle with pews on either side. The outside ambulatory aisles are separated from the nave by a row of Gothic pointed arches, so they do not bisect the pews. The last several pews are located beneath the gallery. Also under the gallery is the baptistry, which cuts a square area out of the pew space on the north side of the nave. There is a narthex separating the nave from the west door. Staircases on either side of the narthex lead to the gallery.
Outside and on the south side of the nave is a single cloister which connects the narthex with the hallway leading through the center of the church campus. The participants in the service (clergy, choir, etc.) gather for prayer prior to the celebration of the Eucharist in this space, weather permitting.
Other articles related to "church, main, main church":
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... The San Gabriel church and monastery was established in 1529 by the Franciscans, on top of the destroyed temple to Quetzalcoatl with evangelization ... The main church was begun in 1549, with the first stone laid by Martín de Hojacastro, who would become the third bishop of Puebla ... The complex is surrounded by a wall with pointed merlons which separates it from the main plaza of the city ...
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