Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

Church as a Sacred Place

Dear Friends,

            I discussed the importance of posture at Mass and the integration of body and soul in prayer in general. A couple of incidents (not necessarily here!) have prompted me to discuss the environment in which we celebrate Mass. I've noticed that before funerals or weddings that some people answer their cell phones and/or drink coffee or other beverages in the church; it was no big deal for them. Faithful Catholics also have asked me why we don't allow drinking coffee during Mass or why we don't attempt to enable a more casual setting.

            I think an aspect we need to remember is that the church is meant to be a holy or sacred place and space. What does holy and/or sacred mean? There are many aspects of holiness and sacredness, but let's focus on this: holiness and sacredness is being set apart, being different. Holy water, while it is water, isn't used for bathing; holy oil isn't used for cooking; the sacred vessels used at Mass aren't used for regular meals; the saints—holy people, or anyone in a state of grace—live differently from others.

            Keeping this in mind, our churches are holy: they are set apart for a purpose different from the events of daily life. They are filled with objects not found in the rest of our lives: an altar, stations of the cross, a tabernacle, etc. The church is not an auditorium, not a meeting hall, not an entertainment center. A church is meant to take us out of our daily routines, out of our ordinary settings in order to place us in the presence of God. It is in a church that we offer our lives to God, and the Holy Spirit transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. In a very real sense, when we enter into the church building, we leave earth and enter into heaven.

            Because what occurs at Mass is different from everything else in life, we shouldn't act in the way we everywhere else. The art, architecture, and environment of a church should lift our human hearts and souls up to the Lord. We always want to have an inviting atmosphere, calling others to join us at Mass, but at the same time, it's important that we're taken out of ourselves and brought into the presence of the Lord with the saints and angels. Have a great week!


In Christ,

Fr. Matt


RSS Feed


Access all blogs

Subscribe to all of our blogs