What s inside our Church. Sacred Heart Church West Des Moines, IA

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1 What s inside our Church Sacred Heart Church West Des Moines, IA

2 Holy Water Font Holds the blessed holy water; Reminds us of our baptism, the most important and significant day of our lives; We make the sign of the Cross which reminds us that we believe in the Trinity and that Jesus died for us. As we sign ourselves with the holy water we also renew our baptismal promises; We not only recall our baptism, but we commit ourselves to Christ; We sign ourselves by the name in which we were baptized: In the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The Sanctuary An area of the church that surrounds the altar; Sanctuary means holy place ; The raised sanctuary symbolizes a mountain which were old Testament places of worship that were frequently on a mountain; A mountain is where heaven and earth meet which is what happens at Mass. The Altar The altar is a table where our church family gathers for a meal. We place our gifts of bread and wine on the altar where they become the Body and Blood of Jesus. The altar is a symbol of Christ. This is why the priest kisses the altar at Mass. We reverence the altar with a bow when we enter the church. The altar is the place of sacrifice; At each Mass, we are present at Jesus sacrifice on the cross (not the bloody sacrifice of Calvary but the re-presentation of that sacrifice at Mass.) The Ambo A special place where we read from the Scriptures; It is raised so that everyone in the church can see and hear the lector and also to remind us that Jesus speaks to us in the scriptures and he often went up on a mountain to teach; At a family dinner we may often look at pictures or tell our family stories; Our church family does the same thing every Sunday the Scriptures from the Bible are our Christian family s stories; Because the stories are sacred and very precious to us, they are read from a distinct place in our church.

3 The Baptismal Font A special and beautiful font that holds the holy water for baptism; Usually for babies and small children. In the time of the apostles, people were baptized in rivers or streams just as Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River; As Christianity spread and churches were built, baptismal fonts were included in the buildings. The Baptismal Pool Many Catholic churches now include a baptismal pool for adults who are to be baptized; The earliest fonts have been found in the Roman catacombs. They are usually shallow pools or basins where the person who is to be baptized stands as water is poured over their head. The Holy Oils Consecrated oils that are used to anoint people and things at special times; The Chrism was used when you were baptized and when you are anointed at your confirmation. It is also used when a priest is ordained or when an altar in a new church is consecrated; The Oil of the Catechumens is also for baptism; The Oil of the Sick is for people who are sick or dying; In the Old Testament, oil was used for the consecration of priests and kings and also in all the great liturgical functions such as sacrifice and consecration of altars; The Oil of the Sick is not a medical prescription. St. James directed the apostles to pray for the sick and anoint them in Jesus name. The Easter Candle Always the biggest and most beautiful candle in the church; Blessed and lit at the Easter Vigil each year and after that is usually lit for funerals and baptisms; It is sometimes called the Paschal (Passover) candle because it reminds us of the Resurrection the day Jesus rose from the dead.

4 Saint Statues Every Catholic church has statues that remind us of special people called saints; The saints are people who have lived holy lives. Many of them have been recognized by God and the Catholic Church for everything they have done; Without our saints, there would probably be no Church; Many of the saints were persecuted and killed for spreading the Gospel of Jesus throughout the world; When we look at our saint statues, we honor these special people and remember what they did; Candles The candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world; Votive candles: smaller candles usually located by the saint statues; Said to keep the prayer even when we have to leave the church. Sanctuary Lamp In the Book of Exodus, God commanded the people to light a lamp as a sign of his presence in the Tabernacle; In our churches, we have something similar called the Sanctuary Lamp ; It burns continually before the Tabernacle as a sign of Jesus presence within and that he remains with us night and day; At Sacred Heart, our sanctuary lamp is dark after Holy Thursday Mass until after Good Friday liturgy because the Body of Christ is not present in the Tabernacle; The lamp is usually red but that is not required; the important thing is that it burns (it cannot be electrical). Tabernacle Beautiful box that holds the Blessed Sacrament; Must be beautiful, unmovable and locked; The Body of Christ is kept here to be taken out to the sick or homebound; We genuflect when we come before the tabernacle.

5 Chapel Since Vatican II, many Catholic churches have moved their tabernacles to a chapel.; The chapel provides a quiet place where people can come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament no matter what is going on in the church. Stations of the Cross The Stations are statues or plaques placed around the church that remind us of what happened to Jesus on the last day of his life here on earth; During Lent, special times are set aside to pray the Stations of the Cross together as a church family; The Stations are like a picture album we look at to remind us how much Jesus loved us and died for us. Sacristy Storeroom for books, candles, wine, unconsecrated hosts, priest s vestments and other items used for Mass and celebrating the sacraments; Vestments are special clothes the priests or deacons wear when they are at Mass or other special ceremonies. They are different colors and are worn at different times of the year: White feasts of the Lord (Christmas/Easter/Christ the King), weddings, funerals and All Saint s Day; Red signifies the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) and the blood of the cross (Good Friday and Palm Sunday). Also worn for the feast of the martyrs; Green Ordinary Time (hope and growth); Purple anticipation (Advent) or penance (Lent). Reconciliation Room A place of privacy where we can come to confess our sins and receive absolution; We can talk to the priest face-to-face or we can kneel behind a screen.

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