The Church Design
The design of any new church building must necessarily reflect the preference of the pastor as well as the needs of his parishioners. Father Drexler attempted to combine the two by choosing the Colonial architecture of the church complex and by selecting the cruciform design of the church, which permits the greatest seating accommodations. His deep interest in early American history and architecture, especially that of restored Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, was the underlying cause of his choice of Colonial design. Since other public buildings of the township of Union were also of Colonial design, the new church plans were appropriate as well as beautiful.
Mr. John S. Homlish of the architectural firm of Homlish & Haas of South Orange had been recommended to draw up the plans for the complex buildings, since he had extensive experience in designing Colonial styled buildings. During the formulation of the plans, it was decided that the buildings should be of modified Georgian-Colonial design. This incorporates both periods of architecture; not as ornate as the Georgian period and yet in keeping with the Colonial era.
Set back 400 feet from Suburban Road, against a background of large shade trees, the church complex is truly a "picture worth a thousand words". The church is 146 feel long, 62 feet wide in the nave and 115 feet wide at the transepts. Fully air-conditioned, it seats 950 persons. The large, on-site parking area accommodated 200 vehicles, with an exit and entrance on Suburban Road and an exit on Morris Avenue.
A rose-blend Williamsburg brick was chosen to face the new buildings and the typically Colonial gray slate was chosen for the roof. Four large white Doric columns, reflecting the Georgian grandeur, enhance the granite steps and white framed portico. Suspended from the inside roof of the portico, on black wrought iron chains, are three "Revere" lanterns, finished in wrought iron and frosted glass.
Above the white portico rises the fifty-foot bell tower, sheathed in three bronze bells which were imported from Belgium, and cast by the I.T. Verdin Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio. The largest bell is pitched to the musical note "D," so that when the bells peal simultaneously, they harmonize perfectly. The bell may be operated either manually or electronically, with controls installed in the priests' sacristy. The bells have been inscribed with the names of the Most Reverend Thomas A Boland, who had blessed them before installation. Rev. George D. Drexler, and Holy Spirit Church.
The nave of the church is beautifully simple and simply beautiful. A five-foot-high off-white wainscoting trims the lower part of the 27-foot-high church. The white ceiling and white Colonial woodwork throughout are outstanding; the only deep dimensions of color being the dark mahogany pews in the nave and transepts. These have the off-white on the sides only and padded kneeling cushions. The brass chandeliers with hurricane glass lamps were especially designed for the church by the Poerner Co. of Clifton, New Jersey.
The Stations of the Cross are hand-carved of American basswood and maple and the figures are finished in soft shades of brown, blue, rose and white on a pale blue background. A typically Colonial white frame surrounds each station. All of the stations and the statues in the church have been hand-carved by the craftsmen at the J. J. Noe Studios in New York, specialists in church interior decorating, who also supervised the entire furnishing of the church.