June 25, 2013
St. Joseph Catholic Church unveils new prayer garden
The St. Joseph Catholic Church and School sits in a majestic location, perched on a hill above the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, with an unobstructed view of Tiger Mountain.
The church grounds are no less impressive, complete with a peaceful waterfall decorated with copper salmon art pieces that pay homage to the fish at the heart of the city.
“I’m of firm belief that beauty in all the ways that it comes through in architecture, art and creation, has a transcendent capacity,” Father Todd Strange said. “We experience God through beauty.”
A new element was added to the expansive campus when the church dedicated its prayer garden for the unborn June 8.
Accessible, yet private, the small garden is surrounded by shrubbery on all sides except for the entrance, which is accented by two rock pillars. Visitors can sit on one of four stone benches, as they admire the centerpiece of the garden, a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The garden was envisioned as a place to pray for the cause of life, but specifically the most vulnerable, the unborn, Strange said. It’s the garden’s sheer beauty that initially attracts most visitors, though.
“There are a lot of people for whom the cause of life is real important to them, and so they were really behind it on that level,” he said. “Then, there are a lot of people who like it because it’s just a peaceful place to pray.”
A small patch of grass sits at the center of the garden, surrounded by gravel and gray brick. A stone plaque with an engraving of baby feet enclosed in a heart sits in the middle of the grass.
While the garden is meant to honor the unborn, children who perhaps lost their lives to abortion or violence, it’s also just a serene place to gather in times of struggle, said Mary Gianopoulos, who helped make the garden a reality.
“If something like this had been around during the Sandy Hook shootings, this absolutely would have been the type of place that I would have come to pray for those young children,” she said. “Anytime you have a tragedy like that, it’s nice to have a place to come.”
Visitors of all denominations are welcome to come and experience the garden’s beauty first hand, and take in a moment of prayer, Strange said.
“I want it to be a place of peace and prayer, and certainly with the unborn in mind,” he said. “All the things that we ultimately do, it’s always with love and respect for people in their struggles. I think the garden kind of fosters that.”
If you go
St. Joseph Catholic Church’s prayer garden for the unborn
4220 Mountain Park Blvd. S.W.
4The prayer garden is just past the church entrance on the right.