Friday, March 3, 2017

Inside Our Sacred Space

Dear Parishioners,

For those of you who missed my announcement at the end of last week’s Masses, here is basically what I said. “There was a mistake in the bulletin several weeks ago that said I would be assuming the pastorate of Our Lady of the Chesapeake when Fr. Brian Rafferty retired this summer. That was never the plan. When Fr. Brian Rafferty retires, a new priest will be sent to Our Lady of the Chesapeake to serve as pastor. It will not be me.”

I saw an interesting article in Our Sunday Visitor newspaper. This is an introduction of “Inside Our Sacred Space.” We will reprint a section of this article for the next following 14 weeks.

Fr. Carl

“Jesus Christ found a way by which he could ascend into Heaven and yet remain on the earth. He instituted the adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist so that he might stay with us, and be the Food of our soul; that he might console us and be our Companion.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars


Gathering Space (Narthex)

The gathering space, frequently called the narthex, is the place where the faithful greet one another before and after Mass. It is the area between the outside doors of the church and the inner doors leading into the worship space. This is where we are welcomed each Sunday, where baptisms, funerals and weddings begin; here we form lines for processions and receive palms. It is a place for religious literature and for parish notices or displays.

In the early history of the Church, the narthex was a waiting area for unbaptized individuals and penitents not allowed inside the worship space and not allowed to participate in all or part of the Mass. Through the centuries, the restrictions on Mass attendance have been relaxed, but the term “narthex” remains.

In the gathering space we, at least mentally, discard our secular ways, knowing that we are about to enter holy ground and that our attitude, body language and even our attire reflect the sacredness therein.

*The word “narthex” in Greek means “giant funnel.”

The Narthex at St. Jane Frances where we enter the church and gather before liturgies.
Our narthex is also a location for offering votive candles and prayers to St. Francis Xavier, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Anthony of Padua.

***This article “Inside Our Sacred Space” was originally published in the OSV Newsweekly, www., on January 8-14, 2017 and is used with permission of the author D.D. Emmons. ***