What's wrong with the architecture of Saint Joseph Church in Jacksonville? It is all too common for most new churches built today. Can you guess what it is?
1. The stain glass windows behind the altar are very attractive. But the problem is that these windows are the same eye level as the altar, thus the altar can get lost when looking at it. The windows become a distraction and by competing with the altar obscures it. In traditional architecture, the windows are much higher and one has to actually look up at them, they are not in the same sight line as the altar and thus the altar becomes the focus not the windows during Mass.
2. Notice where the deacons being ordained are. They are on the floor of the nave. The altar, ambo and presiding chair are all on the same level and there is not enough room in front of the altar to have the deacons to be ordained located.
Unfortunately most architects and dioceses who approve these plans build churches today only for the celebration of the Mass. They fail to realize that the church building is used for other liturgies too, such as ordination Masses, Wedding Masses/liturgies, RCIA liturgies, etc.
There should be two steps up, then a nice wide landing that can accommodate brides, RCIA liturgies (such as the Easter Vigil) and other liturgies. Thus the altar, ambo and preside chair are not obscured by people being on this first landing with the altar area up two or more steps from that.
With brides, RCIA people, deacons on the nave level of the Church, the majority of the congregation cannot see them, except for the people in the first two rows.