Questions: The Sanctuary
“Keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my Sanctuary. I am the Lord.”
What is the Sanctuary? Why is it important?
The words below are from the document Built of Livings Stones (BLS) adopted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in November of 2000. It is a continuation of the work previously begun with the document Environment and Art in Catholic Worship published by the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in 1978.
“The sanctuary is the space where the altar and the ambo stand, and where the priest, deacon and other ministers exercise their offices. The special character of the sanctuary is emphasized and enhanced by the distinctiveness of the design and furnishings, or by its elevation.”
“The sanctuary must be spacious enough to accommodate the full celebration of the various rituals of the Word and Eucharist with their accompanying movement, as well as those of the other sacraments celebrated there.” (BLS 54)
What is the significance of OUR uniquely designed Sanctuary?
Church documents bring into perspective the thought process and discussion of the current enhancement for the existing worship space. Here are a few points to take into consideration when looking at the enhanced design proposed:
The shape of the sanctuary reflects the new design created for the new entrance area to the worship space and the baptismal font. This visual connection reinforces procession and our theology that only through baptism can we share in Eucharist, the body of Christ.
The enhanced sanctuary will have a larger surface area. Appropriate recognition is given to the ambo and altar by the creation of more space around both. “Since the Church teaches that “the altar is Christ”, its composition should reflect the nobility, beauty, strength and simplicity of the One it represents” (BLS 56) The ambo is located on the west side of the sanctuary to provide visual and physical separation from the music area and enhance attention to the proclamation of the Word.
The current sanctuary is not accessible to those in wheelchairs or to those unable to climb steps. The new design provides access to both the sanctuary and the new Eucharistic Reservation Chapel through the addition of two ramps.
More space is created for procession on the sanctuary platform as well as the opportunity to adjust the location of the furnishings for special liturgical celebrations and needs.
Additional floor outlets for the sound system will allow for flexible adjustments to the sanctuary.
Why do we need a Eucharistic Reservation Chapel? For private intimate prayer
Our current chapel in the narthex will be removed to create a more open family area. A small chapel will be built behind the tabernacle in the sanctuary to create an intimate setting for private prayer.
Will there be a corpus on the cross? YES!
A corpus (body of Christ) will be carved by a local artist and fastened to the main cross for most of the year. We are hoping to create the flexibility of removing the corpus during certain occasions or liturgical seasons.