The art of building a church

Posted March 31, 2017 at 12:00 am

A new church can often serve as a spiritual resurgence for parishioners, as well as a  recommitment to not only their own faith lives but also to the parish in which they belong.

After a drought of no new church construction, the Diocese of Baton Rouge is experiencing a renaissance this spring with two new buildings coming online. The first was March 26 when Bishop Robert W. Muench blessed a palatial new house of worship at St. George in Baton Rouge.

Next month St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary is scheduled to swing open the doors to a new building. 

Long before the veil is lifted on a new building, however, an enormous amount of work behind the scenes is required, including

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    A Catholic tradition

    Amid the zaniness so often associated with Mardi Gras, it’s easy to forget that the Carnival season is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith.

    The roots of Mardi Gras run as deep as the pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a February holiday that honored the Roman god of fertility and included feasting and drinking (two Mardi Gras staples).

    As the Catholic Church began its rise in ancient Rome, Christian morality and teachings began to spread, creating a need to blend ancient

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    The gift of suffering

    Suffering is an inescapable fact of life, from which no one is immune.

    Whether it’s the agony of the annual dental visit or much deeper mental and physical anguish caused by life events, suffering is inevitable.

    For Catholics, however, suffering is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Redemptive suffering, defined as any physical or mental tribulation, is an important tenet of the Catholic faith. Catholics, as well as Christians, believe that human suffering,

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    Las Posadas

    For most, Christmas Eve marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration.

    In the Hispanic community, however, the celebration begins more than a week earlier with the Las Posadas novena. Celebrated mainly in Mexico and the United States, Las Posadas begins Dec. 16 and ends Dec. 24.

    This Catholic tradition dates back 400 years and helps the faithful prepare for Christmas by reliving the days Mary and St. Joseph experienced during the journey to

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    Bonfires rooted in Catholicism

    Today, the bonfires are traditionally lit not long after nightfall on Christmas Eve, weather permitting. Each of the more than 100 structures located along a stretch of levee less than four miles long is doused with flammable liquids, and once the fires are roaring, their towering fames create a stunning glow, paving the way for Cajun Santa to find his way to the communities of Paulina, Gramercy Lutcher, Convent Laplace and all points bordering the river.

    Many families maintain

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    ‘Roped’ into marriage

    “Tying the knot” has a become a familiar part of our wedding parlance but in some cultures a rope, or cord, is an important part of the marriage ceremony.

    Known as the wedding lazo, or yugal, the cord is often made in the shape of a loop of rosary beads and traditionally made out of white stain or perhaps silk.

    Before the nuptial blessing, friends or family form the lazo into a figure-eight shape and place it around the neck,

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    Vessels with a purpose

    The Mass itself is a beautiful celebration, one of sacrifice and celebration. It’s also a sum of many components, including the vessels, each of which serves a significant role in what is a beautiful celebration.

    Perhaps the most sacred is the chalice, which will hold the consecrated body and blood of Christ. The presiding priest might use his own personal chalice, or one provided by the parish. A priest’s personal chalice typically holds some type of significance.

    A member of a religious

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