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The first phase of construction of a new building for St. Ignatius Church, near Yotsuya Station in Tokyo, is finished and was unveiled to the press Friday.The building, a Catholic church well known in the Japanese and foreign community alike, is oval-shaped and has a floor space of 1,450 sq. meters, with 700 seats in the pews and 400 auxiliary seats.The structure has 12 columns representing the 12 apostles and 12 stained glass works meant to symbolize nature with 12 themes: moon and stars, lightning and rain, fire, trees, clouds and light, grapevines, wheat, water, birds and the sky, fish and a net, rocks and wasteland, and a path with wild flowers.Pastor Luis Cangas said the church’s oval form symbolizes life and resurrection. The old, wooden St. Ignatius Church building was completed in April 1949. It could hold 500 people.Construction of the new building started in May 1995. The second-phase, which will include a meeting room that can seat about 200 people, is expected to be completed in May 1999. A dedication ceremony will be held today and Sunday.The church had 8,869 members as of 1996.

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