March 8 , 2015
The church I went to during my vacation can hold up to 350 people. There are 4 Masses on the weekend. Each Mass, the people pack inside and maybe there are 150 extra chairs for the late comers just outside the doors. They are planning to build a new church 3 times bigger. It may cost them around 500,000 Canadian dollars. There is a building fund box at the back of the church for the people to put money in. For the whole month of January, 2015 they collected about $100; that is just 2/10,000. If there are no wealthy and generous people coming along, they need 4,999 more months (416 years) to get enough fund for the new church! (Nobody would give them a mortgage that long).
Most of the people there are fishermen or small farmers. They have faith and community but no cash. They trust in God and worship him but struggle to survive day in and day out. In contrast we have a beautiful church at Holy Family Parish. Our church has been built for 2,700 worshiping families, but often we have many empty pews. 11 years ago when we started the building, some people did not agree with the project, they left the parish. God bless their hearts! The rest of the community put a hand in to make the present church. At first we planned to pay off the mortgage in 20 years, but only 11 years and now we have no debt.
This week we will start building a Baptismal Font. It was in the blue print at first, but we didn’t have enough funds, so we delayed it until now. Why and how do we do it? Here is a copy of a note from:http://www.pastoralliturgy.org/resources/0703DecorAndBaptismalFont.php
FONT TYPE AND LOCATION
When building or renovating a church, these are the guidelines:
The baptismal font, particularly one in a baptistery, should be stationary, gracefully constructed out of suitable material, of splendid beauty and spotless cleanliness; it should permit baptism by immersion, whenever this is the usage. (Christian Initiation, General Introduction, #25).
In order to enhance its force as a sign, the font should be designed in such a way that it functions as a fountain of running water; where the climate requires, provision should be made for heating the water. (Ibid, #20)
And in Built of Living Stones, 69
1. One font that will accommodate the baptism of both infants and adults symbolizes the one faith and one baptism that Christians share. The size and design of the font can facilitate the dignified celebration for all who are baptized at the one font, #69.
2. The font should be large enough to supply ample water for the baptism of both adults and infants. Since baptism in Catholic churches may take place by immersion in the water, or by infusion (pouring), fonts that permit all forms of baptismal practice are encouraged.
3. Baptism is a sacrament of the whole Church and, in particular, of the local parish community. Therefore the ability of the congregation to participate in baptisms is an important consideration.
Some people informed me that they don’t like the project and may stop contributing to the finance of the parish. Maybe that is why at the end of February, 2015 our finance book is in the red. I just want you know that there are hundreds of other charities, and they can use your financial help. Don’t keep that fund in your account.
It’s not accurate to compare the church and community I mention above to ours, since we live in different societies with different conditions. They have to try their best and so do we.
We care for the physical building but the most important thing is to build community. Church maintenance is a must but looking after the less fortunate is also our priority. We need facilities to accommodate every member, but we also need all members to participate. We need to make the church beautiful but we also need all members to be fruitful and numerous. Jesus declares that he is the New Temple of Jerusalem. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have become the Living Temple of God. Are you aware of that? What are you going to do this Lenten season to adorn God’s Temple?