A Walking Tour

Mary-StatueWelcome to SS. Peter and Paul Parish, the Roman Catholic faith community of Ionia and the surrounding area. Founded in 1861 with some 15 families, our parish has grown and become part of the fabric of our town. We currently count about 400 active families and support a preschool program and kindergarten through 8th grade school.

A Walking Tour of SS. Peter & Paul

Upon entering SS. Peter & Paul Church, one is met with the baptismal font.  Baptism being the first of the sacraments, it is most appropriate to have the font located near the entrance of the church building.  We sign ourselves and our identity as children of a loving Father.

Looking directly ahead to the front of the church, our eyes are drawn to the white marble altar.  The central sacrament of our faith, the Eucharist, is celebrated at the altar.  This altar was placed here in 1969 in response to the renewal of the liturgy at the Second Vatican Council.

Behind the main altar, at the back of the sanctuary, is the altar that was used before the Second Vatican Council.  In the center is the Tabernacle.  The symbols on the back altar are the alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and in the center, IHS, the first three Greek letters in the name Jesus.

Embedded in the east wall of the sanctuary is the ambry holding the blessed oils.  The Oil of Catechumens is used at Baptism; the Oil of Chrism at Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination; and the Oil of the Sick for anointing those who are ill.  The Bishop consecrates these oils each year at the Chrism Mass.  Our ambry was built by parishioner Warren Wentworth in 1992.

On the west side of the sanctuary is the marble ambo from which the sacred scriptures are proclaimed at our liturgies.  This ambo was placed here at the same time as the new altar in 1969.

Statuary:  Beginning with the west side of the church, you will see statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe with St. Juan Diego, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and St. Peter.  Notice the keys (signs of authority) and the rooster (a reminder of his denial of Christ).  Below the statue of Mary are two paintings, Our Lady of Perpetual Help on the left and Our Lady of Guadalupe on the right.

The figures behind the altar, at the foot of the crucifix and beginning on the left, are Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Beloved Disciple John.

On the east side of the sanctuary is a statue of St. Paul, with scrolls (his epistles) and sword (his martyrdom) in hand.  Next is St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, and finally, near the east wall, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Stained Glass – The scenes depicted in our stained glass windows are as follows:  The first window on the west wall beginning in the rear is Peter receiving the Keys (Mt. 16:19), and the second is the Anointing at Bethany (John 12:3).  As you move around the corner of the west transept wing, you find the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:41-45), and then the large scene showing the Ascension (Acts 1:9).

High up on the west side of the sanctuary are the Disciples at Emmaus (Luke 24:30), and on the east, Abraham and Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18).

The large window in the east transept wing shows the Nativity (Mat. 2 and Luke 2).  Then comes the Boy Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46), and around the corner, Jesus and the Children (Mark 10:13-14) and Paul in Athens (Acts 18:22).