Center Apse Wall
Behind the altar is a cross surrounded by stars. This is not decoration; it is theology and revelation and preaching. This image was inspired by a mosaic apse wall from a sixth century basilica in Ravenna, Italy. The cross sits in a circle. The circle is a perfect shape - no beginning and no end; no break or division. The shape of the circle speaks to the mystery of God.
The face of Jesus in the center of the cross announces our creed: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the beginning and end of life, salvation of the world. The small image of Jesus' face reminds us that it is hard to discern God's ways when we follow at a distance. The closer we get to the altar and the sacraments, the easier we can see that he watches over us and cares for us, giving us perfect joy.
In the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15) a shepherd has 100 sheep and one goes astray. One hundred is a perfect number. He leaves the 99 sheep in search of the one. On finding him, he puts him on his shoulders and returns home rejoicing. The field of blue has 99 stars to remind us that the Son of God left the angels in heaven in search of humanity - the lost sheep. By becoming flesh and conquering death, Christ has made it possible for us to return to heaven - the place of perfection.
On either side of the cross are the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of life as the prologue of St. John's Gospel says: In the beginning was the Word. We know that Jesus will come again as the Judge at the end of the world. Further confirmation of this comes from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 22: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Above the cross are the Greek letters for ICHTHYS which means "fish." Tradition says that the early Christians in the time of Roman persecution identified themselves to each other by drawing a fish in the sand.
At the base of the Cross, written in Latin, is SALUS MUNDI, salvation of the world.