mercoledì 16 settembre 2009
venerdì 4 settembre 2009
lunedì 17 agosto 2009
venerdì 7 agosto 2009
The main worship space is what we know as a church. The primitive Church or Christian communities did not have churches. They met in houses big enough to accommodate everyone. Eventually, the rich Christians started giving or buying houses for the sole purpose of worship. These were called domus ecclesiae or house of the church. Constantine gave the Church basilicas and built up huge structures that replaced or at least overshadowed the domus ecclesiae. Eventually, these structures took on the name of the people that use them – church (with a small c to differentiate with Church as in the Christian community).
Old churches are either just in the form of a rectangle or in the form of a cross. Anything goes for modern churches.
Churches may have have these parts. Those marked with * are required by Church laws on worship and current praxis.
1. * The facade and the church doors. The area of the church actually encompasses the whole complex and this would include the patio in front of it and the facade of the church. These have liturgical use. The patio is used for the blessing of the easter bonfire on Holy Saturday night, and there are celebrations that begin “in faciem ecclesiam” or “in the front of the church like the dedication of the church, the welcoming of those who will be baptised, married and buried.
The church doors symbolize Jesus the sheepgate, the narrow gate and the Way to salvation. The main doors of the church are usually elaborately decorated because these have ceremonial functions, for example, a bishop will knock on the door with the bottom end of his staff at the beginning of the dedication rite. The side doors of the church are only for practical purposes (entrance and exit).
2. The narthex or vestibule. Upon entering the church, the area that welcomes us is the vestibule or narthex. It is the ante room of the church where the priest at the beginning and end of the service interacts with the people. It is also where the holy water spouts are. It is usually also the place where they put announcements for weddings, and other posters and print ads.
3. * The sacristy and vestry. The sacristy is the room where the supplies, the equipment and the materials used for the services of the church are kept. It is managed by the sacristan. Sacristies are usually located near the sanctuary. Some churches have a separate vestry where the vestments used by the clergy are kept. Most vestries however are part of the sacristy. Some churches would have vestries near the doors of the church.
4. * The baptistry and the baptismal font. Churches should have a place for baptism and a baptismal font. The baptismal font is called the womb of the Church because that is where new Christians are born. Depending on the church, this could be near the narthex, in a side chapel or near the sanctuary or in a separate building. Outside the season of Easter, the Easter Candle is near the baptismal font.
5. The nave (sometimes with side chapels). The nave is the area for the faithful who gather to participate in the service. In the area of the nave are chairs called pews. Interestingly, the big churches of Rome have no pews. Strangely enough, the word 'nave', which dates back to the 12th Century AD, comes from the Latin navis, meaning 'ship', as the vaulted ceilings of this part of the church often reminded people of the timbers used to build the hull of a ship.
In older churches there would be side altars or side chapels in the nave area. These were built during the time when Masses are done simultaneously without the need for people to attend. These are multiple masses with different intentions, private masses that a priest does. There were altarists or priests ordained for the celebration of Mass. The practice came to the point of abuse with priests accepting a number of mass offerings for stipends that they wouldn’t be able to finish even at the point of death.
6. The transept. In cruciform churches, the transept would be the arms of the church. In older churches there would be altars set up here complete with retablo with the images of the more important saints (but of lesser importance than to those in the main retablo). Usually there would be doors at the transept. In oriented churches (Churches with the altar facing the east), there would a north and south transept.
7. The apse. The apse is a semi-circular recess built sometimes at the east end of a church in place of a chancel or at the eastern end of the chancel. Originally it was the place of the seat of the presider or celebrant until the altar became attached to the decorated wall that evolved into the retablo. The reform of the second Vatican Council should have restored the use of the chair and its place in the apse.
8. The rood screen/communion rail. In the Tridentine Rite (the old Latin Mass), the people may not enter the presbytery. Women were absolutely not allowed to go up. The rood screen or the communion rail separated the priest from the people. The communion rail was where communicants would kneel down to receive the host from the priest.
9. * The presbytery or sanctuary or chancel. The chancel is the most holy part of the church, and this is why it is often separated from the nave by a screen which can be made of wood or stone, or occasionally iron.
Inside the chancel are the benches where the choir sit. These are called choir stalls. They are on both sides. The two sides of the choir sit facing one another. The choir members who sit on the left (north side) are called “cantoris” (the side where the “cantor” sits) and those on the right (south side) are called “decani” (the side where the deacon sits). In some large churches or cathedrals the seats for the priests tip up. The top of these seats, when they are tipped up, are called misericordia (from the Latin word for “mercy”). This is because the priests or monks were able to lean against them when they got tired if they had to stand up for a long time (it comes from the Latin word for "mercy"). It is rare to find these choir stalls in the sanctuaries of churches at present. I think only the Abbey Church of our Lady of Montserrat (San Beda Mendiola) has these. San Agustin’s choir benches are in the choir loft.
The sanctuary would have the following elements.
a. * Altar. The altar is the table of the eucharist. It is where the Liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated. It reminds us of the table at the Lord’s Supper where Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples and gave it new meaning. It is also a symbol of the cross, on which the actual body of Christ was offered and his blood shed. Which is why a cross is always placed near the altar – it is to remind us that what happens on the cross is the same thing that happens on the altar. The altar is the center of the thanksgiving that the eucharist accomplishes. Because of its function, the altar is seen also as a preeminent symbol of Christ. The altar is Christ.
There is a practice of putting relics of saints in altar. Relics are pieces of the body of the saints that are put inside the altar itself so that the altar may give them honor. They do not add honor to the altar but the altar gives honor to their tomb. It would be good if we could check if there are relics of saints in the altars.
b. * Ambo. Post-Vatican II reform restored the use of the Ambo. The ambo is the table of the Word. It is where Scriptural readings are proclaimed, where the homily is preached and where the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful are announced. It should have the same design as the altar. Both are symbols of Christ.
c. Pulpit. The pulpit is the preaching platform. This is usually reached by a small flight of steps and is, effectively, an ornamental, lidless, box. It is usually at the front of the nave, just to the right or left of the steps leading to the chancel. Before the second Vatican council, the priest does not give homilies but sermons and these are separated from the Mass. The Masses happen simultaneously sometimes while a priest is preaching at the pulpit.
d. * Presider’s Chair. The chair of the presider or priest-celebrant should stand out uniquely. It is where he presides over the celebration of the liturgy and symbolizes the presidency of Christ over the Church. A cathedral would have a special chair for the bishop called the cathedra (which is why the cathedral is named as such) where the bishop sits to preside over his diocese.
e. Retablo. In older churches and in some new churches, the backdrop or wall behind the altar is elaborately decorated. Formerly, the altar was attached to this and so these would be decorations of the altar and the tabernacle (which was on the altar) but most of the time obscured the table of the altar itself. The retablos would usually have a central image, either the patron of the church or the cross. In some places the central image is the tabernacle. There would also be niches with images (either relieves like in the sala recibidor of San Agustin or statues of saints who are important to the community or the religious congregation that built/runs the church.
f. Tabernacle. The box where the eucharistic species are contained for the purpose of communion for the sick and dying. They are sometimes used like a refrigerator of hosts by unscrupulous priests, sacristans and extraordinary ministers of holy communion. In the Tridentine rite, it used to be that priests would give as communion to the people hosts from the tabernacle (parang bahaw na nasa ref).
10. The adoration chapel. This is a chapel where people can visit the Blessed Sacrament and have adoration or private prayers. It may be placed in a side chapel or in a separate building.
11. The crypt. The crypt is the cemetery within the church. There are some churches that have it under the nave. Common practice is that it is separated from the main building of the church like what San Agustin Church did to theirs.
There are different kinds of churches.
1. Parish Churches are a sacred building designated for divine worship to which the faithful have the right of entry for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship. A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop. Sometimes a parish church can also be a church connected to a house of a religious congregation like the parish church of Santo Rosario in UST (which is also a seminary church), San Sebastian, and Santo Domingo.
2. There are also churches that are not connected to any parish. These are under the care of a rector. Usually, these churches are connected to a house of a religious congregation. This is the case of San Agustin Church, the Abbey Church of Our Lady of Monserrat in San Beda and the Church of Gesu in Ateneo.
3. By the term shrine is understood a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety, with the approval of the local ordinary. For a shrine to be called a national shrine, the conference of bishops must give its approval; for it to be called an international shrine, the approval of the Holy See is required. The local ordinary is competent to approve the statutes of a diocesan shrine; the conference of bishops for the statutes of a national shrine; the Holy See alone for the statutes of an international shrine.
Examples of Diocesan shrines are the Diocesan Shrine of Saint Joseph in Quezon City, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus, theWay, the Truth and the Life near MOA. Examples of National Shrines are the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Sto Domingo) in Quezon City, National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati, National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipolo, National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela, National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, National Shrine of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Sucat.
4. The Latin word basilica (derived from Greek, Basiliké Stoà, Royal Stoa), was originally used to describe a Roman public building (as in Greece, mainly a tribunal), usually located in the forum of a Roman town. In Hellenistic cities, public basilicas appeared in the 2nd century BC. After the Roman Empire became officially Christian, the term came by extension to specifically refer to a large and important church that has been given special ceremonial rites by the Pope. Basilicas are divided into classes, the major ("greater"), and the minor basilicas, i.e., three other patriarchal and several pontifical minor basilicas in Italy, and over 1,400 lesser basilicas on all continents. There are 12 in the Philippines. The privileges attached to the status of basilica, which is conferred by papal brief, include a certain precedence before other churches, the right of the conopaeum (a baldachin resembling an umbrella; also called umbraculum, ombrellino, papilio, sinicchio, etc.) and the bell (tintinnabulum), which are carried side by side in procession at the head of the clergy on state occasions, and the cappa magna which is worn by the canons or secular members of the collegiate chapter when assisting at the Divine Office. Churches designated as patriarchal basilicas, in particular, possess a papal throne and a papal high altar from which no one may celebrate Mass without the pope's permission. The minor basilicas form the vast majority, including some cathedrals, many technically parish churches, some shrines, some abbatial or conventual churches.
5. A cathedral (French cathédrale from Lat. cathedra, "seat") is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop. It is the mother church of the Diocese and its spiritual and administrative center. It is the most important church in the Diocese, outranking even Basilicas. Cathedrals can be shrines, basilicas and parish churches at the same time. An example would be the Antipolo Church.
1. Old churches are often built with the main altar facing the east, in such a way that when the priest celebrates the mass facing the altar, he and the people will all be facing the east. The east was associated with Christ’s resurrection (using the symbol of the rising sun) and the west was associated with the devil. Churches with this structure are called oriented churches, orient meaning east.
2. Gospel Side and Epistle Side. The Gospel Side was the side where the priest or deacon stood to read the Gospel while the Epistle (first reading) was read on the Epistle Side. These terms are from the Tridentine Rite when there was no ambo to read on. It was either the priest read the book on the altar or someone was reading it while another opens it for them.
3. If there are aisles along the side of the nave there will be pillars which hold up the roof. In large churches or cathedrals there may be a row of little arches along the top of these pillars. This is called the triforium. Over the triforium is the clerestory which is a row of small windows high up in the church wall.
Usually church have, aside from the main worship space, other rooms or structures that are needed in its activities i.e. the sacristy, the rectory (residence of the ordained) or attached cloister/monastery, the patio, the office and in some cases, a school.