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Saint Thomas More Parish

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1968, Francis O'Connor Church. 1200 Oakland Ave.

Built as the Newman Center for the students of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the church was designed by Greensburg architect Francis O'Connor Church (1910–1992) as an architectural and artistic teaching tool. Its kidney shape symbolizes the spiraling journey of faith as it flows toward the altar. The shallow domed roof is constructed of a lightweight acoustical plaster requiring little structural support. Skylights and high small windows bring abundant natural light into the sanctuary while allowing a smooth uninterrupted curve of brick on the exterior. The church seats over 600, with no congregant farther than forty feet from the altar, giving a sense of community encouraged by the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. The unusual structure is enhanced by carefully chosen religious art by Ed Carlos and Armento Liturgical Arts of Buffalo.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Saint Thomas More Parish", [Indiana, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 205-205.

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