As Catholics, we recognize the True Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, but as humans, we occasionally need help to get into the “holy mindset” for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. How is this accomplished? How do we learn to focus upon the Divine, when our minds are so preoccupied with the things of the world? Bills need to be paid, and kids need to be driven to soccer games. What brings our focus back to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ? One of the answers lies in sacramentals. Sacramentals (different from Sacraments) are sacred signs given to us by the Church and used in Holy Mass to help us connect our physical world to the Divine. The increased use of Latin chant, incense, and altar bells are just a few examples. They signify through our physical senses the presence of the Divine. They elevate the solemnity and sacredness of our worship. They give us the ability to understand that we are in a holy space, engaged in most holy actions.
To that end, since coming to St. Mary’s, I believe the Holy Spirit has called this parish to further the mission of elevating the sacredness of Mass in many different ways, whether it be through music, art, or the beauty and accoutrement of the sanctuary. Thus far, we have made some wonderful updates to the way we worship at the parish: we have purchased and put into use new sanctuary furniture and kneelers, Fr. John LoCoco upgraded the acolyte / server procedure, and we have purchased new albs and cassocks for the acolytes. We’ve already ordered, and perhaps by the Easter season, we will have a great matching set of candlesticks, matching altar crucifix, a new stand for the Paschal candle holder, and a new sanctuary lamp. Most of these changes were made possible through your generous donations from last year’s auction. I hope you all notice your contributions the next time you’re at St. Mary’s! The use of sacramentals has helped in this mission, but I wanted to let you know about our some upcoming plans for the physical space of St. Mary Parish sanctuary.
Before I arrived, Fr. John Burns shared with me his thoughts regarding the beautification of the sanctuary. He and I are of one mind! Remember, I was instrumental in his formation as a priest! Commissioned artwork of the Blessed Mother and tile restoration were two of these great ideas.
Following this, in the next few weeks, we will be removing a part of the carpet of the sanctuary and inspecting the original tile below. The carpet was installed in 1978, covers the floor beneath the tabernacle and the altar, and is starting to show signs of wear. If this area of original tile is in good shape, we will be considering restoring it throughout the sanctuary! Our deacon, Jim Goetter, will be helping facilitate these plans. Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for updates on these exciting changes. I ask for your prayers as we continue to discern God’s Will for us, and our worship of Him at our parish.