The Prayer Niche
The Prayer Niche by the Gathering Space is an area set aside for quiet prayer. The sacred objects and art work located in this area are meant to aid us in our prayer. Here is a short tour of what you will find in this corner of the Church.
Parish Book of Intentions—this lined book is usually open to the page for the current Sunday. Parishioners coming into Mass stop and write the name/s of people they want the community to pray for during Mass and these intentions are mentioned during the prayers of the faithful.
Wall of Remembrance—In the course of the year, a wooden cross is added for every person whose funeral is celebrated at the parish. Crosses have written on them the names of the deceased and the date of death, which is also called the date of entry into eternal life. At the annual Mass of Remembrance, celebrated on All Souls day (November 2), the crosses are given to a family member of the deceased.
Communion of Saints Image—The Communion of Saints refers to the family of God, both living and dead, who are united in Christ through Baptism. Just as we may ask a friend to pray for us because we are still connected, we can ask those who have died to pray for us.
Icons of St. Joseph and St. Anthony—Icons are themselves a prayer and inspire our prayers. Iconographers prepare to work through prayer, fasting and study. The fruit of their prayer and labor are sacred images that teach, remind us of who we are called to be, and inspire us to pray that we may become like that person. The icons in our prayer niche are of St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, and St. Anthony, patron saint of lost objects.
Votive Candles—Candles are a reminder of the light of Christ and lighting a candle as part of a prayer of petition is a way for our prayer to remain and continue to burn and be lifted up to God after we ourselves have left.
Statues—The use of images and statues, and the blessings and prayers associated with them, is meant to draw us closer to Christ and the example of the saints. These images can remind us to praise God and implore God’s protection, or they can sometimes help draw us into prayer in a more personal way. In the prayer niche we have statues of Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and John the Baptist.
Rosary Beads—Catholics give special honor to Mary, the mother of Jesus. One of the prayers associated with Mary is the Rosary. Many Catholics pray the Rosary before Mass. The Rosary in the Prayer Niche has special significance for our parish as it was made for Fr. Frank O’Hare by a parishioner's sons during his final illness.
Next time you come to Church, consider stopping by and writing someone's name in the Parish book of intentions, lighting a candle for someone, praying for the deceased members of our parish, or allowing the sacred art to inspire your prayer.
And consider creating your own prayer niche, or space, at home—a peaceful and comfortable place, free from the clutter and chaos of everyday life, where you can take some quiet time, however brief, to be still, listen, read, reflect, or pray.