Are our churches still sacred places? Dave and Mike discuss the idea of restoring the sacred, helping our churches be places where the presence of God is encountered and known. They also give some ideas on how to communicate this message to your parish.
Snippet from the Show
The sacred is meant to make God’s presence known.
Restore the Sacred
Below is the social media post referenced in this episode:
In many churches, it has become customary to socialize inside the church proper after Mass, and unfortunately, this has subtly conditioned Catholics to no longer think of the church as a sacred temple. This temptation to socialize in a holy place after Mass has become common at St. Anthony, and as we approach Lent, we’d like to reduce the amount of distractions inside the church.
Not only are actions like talking loudly following Mass or clapping after the recessional song distracting to many people, who often remain in the pews to pray after Mass, but it also mitigates our efforts to “restore the sacred” – sacred liturgy, sacred music, and especially sacred space.
Our parish is a home for all, and we want every individual who steps onto our campus to feel welcome; but at the same time, we hope every soul on campus can step into the main church and immediately feel the reverence, prayerfulness, and holiness of our beautiful sanctuary.
It is a good thing that our parishioners love to spend time catching up and talking with friends. In charity, we simply ask that you spend that time either in the Narthex (behind closed doors), in the Paduan Center, or outside in our piazza.
Reverence vs. Comfort
Overwhelming reverence must be fostered in a church. Instead though, many churches have moved more towards a more comfort focused environment. People mistakenly think that if a church is more approachable or more comfortable to attend, it will evangelize and bring more people to the faith. However, focusing on the number of people attending Mass is the wrong metric to go by. Instead, the metric should be more focused on how many true disciples are attending Mass.
Conversion vs. Appeasement
The sacred is meant to make God’s presence known. A sacred space is one that is set apart. Making a space truly sacred will encourage conversion because people will know the presence of God. Having a space that is ordinary in appearance and liturgy that is focused on the people instead of God might make people more comfortable but it will not inspire true conversion.
Movement Towards Restoring the Sacred
There are a number of different ways to make a movement towards restoring the sacred. A well-written social media post would reach a lot of people and could allow for feedback. Be sure to monitor it and answer questions as they arise. Perhaps, the priest at your parish could give a homily on the topic. It is important that it be gentle and preemptively answer any concerns or questions. Lastly, there is always the bulletin. A nicely placed article in the bulletin could do a lot.
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.