October 13, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

      Recently our three parishes had a wonderful opportunity given by Bishop Zubik to submit names for our new-to-be merged Parish. Over 180 names were originally submitted. These names were narrowed down to 10. These 10 were further reduced to three, which were submitted to the Bishop for approval. For our ruminations this week, I would like us to ponder where this practice of giving a name to a church building came from.

    Originally the Agape Meal (what we would later know as Mass) was celebrated in people’s homes. However, with the legalization of Christianity, things began to change. Starting with the Emperor Constantine, buildings were given for Liturgical use. These particular places were considered Sacred spaces. Originally, they were built over the tombs of various Martyrs – for example, the basilicas of St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Sebastian. The early Christians had always held in deep reverence the memory of the heroes who had sealed with blood the Profession of their faith. They would soon celebrate Mass and other rituals at the places where the bodies of the martyrs reposed. Building a new church building was usually determined by the scene of the martyrs’ sufferings, or by the spot where their sacred remains lay enshrined. They would remind people of the Faith that the deceased Christian lived for and died for.

    In time other Saints began to be used, because of there association with the Body of Christ, that is, the People of God. They would become patrons for the Church. The underlying doctrine of being a patron is that of the Communion of Saints, or the bond of spiritual union existing between God’s servants on earth, in heaven, or in purgatory. The saints are thereby regarded as the Advocates and Intercessors of those here on earth making their spiritual journey to God. They would put in a “good word” for people. This is the reason why we ask the Saints for help.

    Notice how the Liturgy Team presented the names for your approval. There was a rationale behind the name. These rationales were given as a response to your suggestions as to how this patron represent us in some way, shape or form.

    Bishop Zubik is allowing all the Groupings to think about what their Mission in the Church really is, not as a people geographically located by a building but by Missionary Spirit. He is giving us the freedom to really think about that Mission, as we look at the names. As a Patron to our Mission, how will the Patron help us to Preach the Gospel? How can their mentoring help us fulfil the Mission of the Church? How can their Intercessions help us become closer to the Lord?

 

 

 

 

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