Handsomely sitting atop the bluff facing the bay, construction of the 1,000-seat beige brick church responded to Corpus Christi's record increase in population. Oklahoma City architect Monnot fronted the church with a gabled nave and asymmetrical side bell towers topped by colorfully tiled domes recalling a Spanish mission, but not those in Texas.
Of note is the Emmanuel Chapel in the bishops' burial vault in the basement. Designed in 1986 by local architect James G. Rome and artist Michael Tracy, the diagonally oriented 40-seat worship space is visually dominated by an overscaled, gilded, arched retablo executed by the artist, who favors crisp architectural forms in his creations. Together with the Tracy-designed bronze candlesticks, and heavy, rectilinear wooden pews, the chapel provides “a simple, austere, very Mexican space within the cathedral,” in the words of the artist, a contrast between “indigenous” Mexican traditions and the “imported” Spanish Revival style of the cathedral.