Beacon in the Night

Published 5:58 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

St. Augustine setting up lighting in its steeples


St. Augustine’s Catholic Church is setting up to cast God’s light over Austin later this month.

A lighting system is currently being rigged to light both steeples throughout the night and a special ceremony will be held on Friday, Aug. 27 to commemorate the occasion called Light the Night.

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“It was an inspiration from God just to give notice to the church,” said Father James Steffes. “Besides being such a sacred icon in the city, it’s also a landmark to make people aware that in the midst of everything going on in the world, we need that kind of hope.”

The idea to light the two steeples started to get traction not long after the church’s major renovation of the sanctuary was completedin 2018.

However, church officials decided to hold off on the project so as to avoid too much going on at the same time.

“[The renovation] was a big project in itself and we didn’t want it too complicated,” Steffes said.

But as time went on, the timing became much better. Earlier this year, Steffes began talking with lighting experts and engineers to see what needed to be done to accomplish the feat.

However, key to the addition was making sure the project worked aesthetically with the church itself.

“I wanted to see light, not light fixtures,” Steffes joked.

Steffes said he hopes that work, headed up by Bergstrom Electric in Austin, is completed in the next few days so they can get at least a week to make sure everything is working alright before next Friday’s ceremony.

The ceremony itself will start with a concert inside St. Augustine’s at 7:30 p.m., followed by the lighting of the steeples. The ceremony is open to the public and a freewill donation is encouraged.

The lighting of the steeples works well for the weekend as it coincides with the Austin ArtWorks Festival; however, for the faithful it has a more important meaning.

The Vigil of the Feast of St. Augustine is generally meant to be held on Saturday, Aug. 28, but the church is opting to celebrate it Friday night to avoid conflicting with the ArtWorks Festival.

At the heart of the project lies the belief that hope will be taken from such a display coming from one of Austin’s most recognizable landmarks, Steffes said.

“I’m hoping that to see the church, people are reminded of God’s presence and I think we need that assurance, that comfort,” Steffes said. “The hope in the midst of so much darkness in this world that God is present and is in control.”

“This is just an external reminder before walking into this sacred space that they know this is a house of God,” Steffes continued.