ETC Paradigm® lighting control illuminates new Blessed Kateri Church

When Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Parish in Santa Clarita, California, needed to plan the lighting for their new church, they called upon the services of lighting designer Bridget Williams, of Bridget Williams Lighting Design, in Apple Valley, California. “They wanted to fully modernize their lighting system while highlighting their unique interior design,” says Williams. She specified ETC’s energy-saving Unison® Paradigm® architectural control system.

William’s plan for Paradigm gave the church easy one-button access to a variety of custom lighting looks while still allowing for individualized control from the tech booth. Meanwhile, as Randy Johanson, audio/visual technician for Blessed Kateri, adds, “The new lighting system brings out the building’s natural beauty.” The church’s architecture was designed around a sense of the exterior environment held sacred by Native Americans, employing natural and often native materials. (The church itself is named in honor of the 17th-century Native American Catholic convert and candidate for sainthood, Kateri Tekakwitha). The interiors abound in cherry wood and stone. American red oak pews seat 1,350 parishioners. Rough-hewn stone pillars and walls, as well as a Jerusalem Stone altar and baptismal font anchor the sacred space. Natural light pours in through the massive rear-chapel window and side windows.

The artificial lighting needed to both complement and calibrate to this natural light and be a system accessible to almost anyone using it. Through the ETC Paradigm Touchscreen in the tech booth, church volunteers can access presets (pre-recorded lighting looks) available on the ten-button panels located outside the sacristies. They can also use the Touchscreen to set the levels of individual lighting channels.

“We programmed presets for TV, masses, concerts, special events and other adoration/spiritual times,” describes Williams, always maintaining an eye on the interior décor. Williams also made use of Paradigm’s green-minded timeclock function to turn presets on or off automatically based on regularly occurring events in the church and available natural light, looking ahead to save on energy bills.

“The church uses the presets all the time but they also can run the lighting system live through the Touchscreen. When Archbishop Mahony officiated for the dedication of the church, they discovered that they liked being able to turn the pulpit lighting on and off at different times.” Since then, the church’s lighting techs use a basic preset for mass but work spontaneously with individual channels (also via the Touchscreen) as a service progresses.

On frequent AV duty, Johanson appreciates this deep new functionality: “The Paradigm system is very easy to use -- from recalling scenes to recording scenes. And one of the best things is having the ability to control each light or lighting type and to set how bright each light is, as needed. It’s also nice to be able to take the control surface almost anywhere in the church as adjustments need to be made.”

Blessed Kateri wanted to ensure that, in addition to meeting their current needs, their future lighting options would not be limited by decisions made in the past. According to ETC Architectural Market Manager Joe Bokelman, “The Paradigm lighting system was engineered specifically to enable growth and flexibility in building control.”

Keeping the special aesthetics of the new church in mind at all times, Bridget Williams used Paradigm’s exclusive ControlDesigner™ software to full advantage: “Even the graphical design we created for the color Touchscreen itself is stunning.”

In addition to ETC Paradigm as the facility’s lighting control infrastructure, Blessed Kateri employs numerous ETC Source Four® spotlights and PAR wash lights for illuminating the sanctuary stage area. A variety of low-voltage PAR fixtures highlight architectural accents and the Stations of the Cross.

From being a mission church in the 90’s that met in local schools, Blessed Kateri has now realized its mission to be a permanent sacred center, answering the spiritual needs of its community in part through this strong new architectural and technological backbone.


Blessed Kateri Church, Santa Clarita, CA

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“The Paradigm system is very easy to use -- from recalling scenes to recording scenes. And one of the best things is having the ability to control each light or lighting type and to set how bright each light is, as needed. It’s also nice to be able to take the control surface almost anywhere in the church as adjustments need to be made.” - Randy Johnson, Audio/Visual Technician, Blessed Kateri

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