Another look at St. William Church in Round Rock, Texas

Another look at St. William Church in Round Rock, Texas

St. William, apseAbout a month ago several Catholic blogs were discussing a new church built in Round Rock, Texas, called St. William. (I wrote about it too.) Since it’s not far from Austin, where Melanie’s parents live, we took a trip over there today to get a closer look.

It’s a very nice church. I’m no architectural expert, but I would call it neo-traditional, being a clear development of the classic pre-Vatican designs while using all the more modern conveniences.

Here is a whole set of photos we took,  including some architectural details for you church building geeks. The artwork is nice. I wouldn’t call it austere, but it’s certainly not ornate. My guess is that they’ve left room to add more artwork in the future.

There are many nice touches. The ladies room has a nursing mothers’ area with a privacy screen, a glider-rocker, and a TV to keep up with the Mass via closed circuit. There are also flat-panel TVs in the very large narthex, presumably when they have overflow crowds on big holidays. The Church will seat 1,700 and I bet they can get more than 100 in the narthex alone.

The parish has a big plot of land with a whole lot of parking, but also empty land to grow on.

Overall, it’s a nice looking church and—apart from all other considerations—I could certainly get used to going to Mass there on a regular basis.

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  • What a beautiful church!  The murals are a great, Mediterranean touch.  It is warm, reverential, and not overdone.  I could love attending Mass there too, providing that the priests are not edgy dissidents.

  • Thanks for the post. The church is beautiful and modern.  The colors are bold yet reverent. The statues and paintings are great.

  • The church looks like a church but it is a pity that the tabernacle isn’t in the centre and my preference is for the choir to be behind the congregation.  A choir in front of a congregation runs the risk of performing for the crowd rather than offering praise to God.

  • I like the way they used the natural light and the white marble tile.  I love the pillars and the wood.  I reminds me a little of the Blessed Sacrament Shrine in Hanceville because it has the white marble and the beautiful wood too.

    I do not like the piano or the choir being positioned up front.  I wish the choir’s place would be a bit less prominent.

    Sometimes, without meaning to, Choirs being up front can be distracting and it can foster the false notion that sacred liturgy is a performance.  I would not like the flat screen tv’s either.  If it is so crowded there should be more Masses so that all can be welcome in God’s house and alowed to participate in worship rather than watch tv. 

    I think the Church is very beautiful though.


  • Nice church mostly.  I especially like the outside.  The dome brings Orthodoxy/Byzantine Catholicism to mind.  I have to tell you, though, that at first glance at the picture I thought you had a shot of some new space equipment.  Then I read your headline.  I could do without that blue tunnel.

  • If it is so crowded there should be more Masses so that all can be welcome in God’s house and allowed to participate in worship rather than watch tv.


    Except you seem to forget that you can only have one midnight mass and that’s one of the most popular services of the year. At my home parish there’s standing room only for Midnight mass at Christmas and for Easter vigil mass. People will go to these masses even if they can only stand outside where they can’t hear. At least with televisions in the narthex, people can participate even when there is no room. Not to mention that it would be rather nice for parents of very active small children.

    St Peter’s in Rome has been known to have masses shown on large screens so that people far away can also feel connected.

    Photographs can’t always capture what it’s like to actually be in a space. When you are in the church, the lighting doesn’t have the same “blue tunnel” effect. It’s a very nice traditional vaulted ceiling with dark blue field and gold stars.

  • Dom,

    TV may have a practical aspect but I think it’s tacky even if it’s at the Vatican. “It aint fitten, it just aint fitten!”

    Truly, I think the Church is beautiful and would love to experience prayer and Mass in such an inspiring church.  Our parish church is more like a barn (stable), so you can’t imagine my appreciation for a place so beautiful. Still, I think they should try to offer two Masses if there is another space in the basement or other area. That’s what we do.  TV Mass is tacky, even for kids; expecially on Christmas!

      I like the Church so much that I would love to see it built here with some tiny alterations. But, we are in the deep south and although we are growing very fast are still considered missionary territory.

    I believe that God wants people to enter rather than watch what happens inside on a screen.  Perhaps in time they will add extra space for such occasions so that everyone might experience the Mass more fully.


  • I am underwhelmed. The ceiling is a mishmash of convention-space and vault that is very plastic-looking. It’s much more horizontal than vertical. Indeed, the space very much strikes me as standard 1970s cookie-cutter Catholic church “worship space” with cosmetic covering. Some of the details are nice, but they seem out of place.

    Key question I cannot tell from pictures: How are the natural (unamplified) acoustics for spoken and sung voice?

  • I like the nave,blue tunnel and all,  and would LOVE a well-equipped ladies’ room, as the mom of an active toddler, who, in my beautiful church has to stay in the vestibule most Masses, with no seating for Mom, it would be a blessing!

  • Dom, I just heard about this church Christmas eve and now I am sorry I didn’t drive the 10 extra miles from my sister’s home.  Thanks for the information I will check it out next time.  And next time you come in we’ll invite you a bbq and yes we do that in the winter too.

    Love your blog.  Keep it up.

  • Just came across this old post. This is our parish church. Wow, people are picky! I’m surprised at all the critical comments. It’s really such a beautiful place. They’ve added a lot of stuff over the past few months, you and Melanie should definitely check it out again next time you’re out here.