Construction Begins on the Sanctuary

03-03-2022RenovationFr. Chris Axline

As we begin our Lenten journey this year, what a great opportunity to resume articles in our bulletin! It is with great joy that we’ll have regular articles in our bulletin with me being a regular contributor (that’s probably the only downside is hearing more from me, lol). This Lent we’re again invited to do some community penance as we now only have half a church! So, as our renovation project progresses, please keep its success in your prayers. Our construction is also a great time to practice patience and charity as there are a lot of moving parts to consider and our indoor seating is limited. One small, penitential act of charity could be made by offering your seat to someone and either standing or sitting outside. This is just one way, let the Holy Spirit guide you!

Speaking of the Holy Spirit, did you pray about what to do for Lent? Lent’s not just a time to make a “new year’s resolution” meaning that it's just about physical health and wellness. That’s good, but Lent is more than that. Lent is an opportunity to truly heed our Lord’s call and desire for us to become holy, to become the saints He’s created us to be. So, our Lenten disciplines should sting, they should be a challenge calling us to a death to ourself in various ways. Usually I end up asking one question that helps focus my lenten resolution: “Lord, what am I most attached to right now and don’t want to give up?” For me, this question reveals a lot including the many ways my heart has attached itself to worldly things, obstacles that get in the way of my relationship with Christ. This question also challenges me to answer honestly which has always given me a fruitful lent. While these Lents have been fruitful they’ve not been easy. A fruitful Lent is often the result of a difficult Lent. But, because of the challenges past Lents have brought, the subsequent Easters were also that much richer. There was a true sense of resurrection and new life as the Lord came rushing in and His presence

First, daily Masses are moving to our adoration chapel. This move allows us to leave the hall space setup for our programs and other parish events ensuring that we have space enough to accommodate all participants.

Second, confessions will take place in the Holy Family room. This too is a logistical move that will enable us to have access to confession while allowing space for penitents to pray and prepare for confession while simultaneously maintaining our perpetual adoration.

Third, Sunday Masses will take place in our hall space. This means that our internal seating will be limited. However, we will also utilize our outdoor space for overflow seating while we are able to. I encourage you all to bring your own chairs, water, and sun protection if you would like to sit outside during this time. Remember that for those who are properly disposed to receive Communion, consuming anything other than water breaks one’s fast in preparation for receiving Holy Communion.

Fourth, you will notice during this time that most of our liturgies will be celebrated “Ad Orientem” (Latin for “To the East''). This practice is deeply rooted in our Catholic Tradition and is not about the priest “turning his back toward the people.” Rather, it’s rooted in the Incarnation of Christ who assumed human nature through the Virgin Mary and steps forward as a man in a perfect offering of Himself to the Father on the Cross in order to free us from sin.

The priest whenever he celebrates Mass acts “in persona Christi capitis” (Latin for “in the person of Christ the head”) and therefore mimics the salvific action of Christ by stepping forward from among the congregation and offering the perfect sacrifice of the Mass. Thus, the priest is not turning his back on the people but, since he is speaking to God throughout the Mass, is facing the person he’s speaking to (Christ). I am including two short articles that gives a further catechesis on this as well: from Bishop Wall of the Diocese of Gallup New Mexico (July 22, 2019):  and from CC Watersed, an organization devoted to renewing the Sacred Liturgy (February 13, 2021):

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during our time of renovation, I am excited to see the fruits this will bring to our parish community. I thank you for your generosity, prayers, and sacrifices. May the Lord grant us all a fruitful Lenten observance.