This weekend was the last in our current 70’s era church. At the end of all weekend Masses we prayed a “Decommissioning” prayer (see below). It provided a poignant closure for our community.
But we’re not entirely saying good-bye. This space will continue to serve our parish in important ways. Renamed the “Theatre” Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings it will host “Time Travelers” our children’s liturgy of the Word for grades 1-5. It will also be the location for our Middle School Program on Sunday evenings, Resurrection, and our High School Programs on Thursday, Uprising. By the way, if you want to know more about those programs check them out on line on our web site, churchnativity.com and click on the kids or students tile.
The New Sanctuary, which you access through (the Concourse) will seat more than 1,000 people, with room to grow to 1,500. That sounds big but, in fact, no seat will be any further from the altar than is the case in our current church. The building is starkly contemporary with state of the art technology. But the centerpiece and focal point of the space will be the altar. A one of a kind design, crafted in Oberammergau, Germany, it will be unveiled for the first time next weekend.
After Mass, why not check out our new Café, the Vision Café where you’ll find plenty of space to enjoy fellowship and friendship, not to mention great coffee. And just in case the kids ask, there will still be donuts too. This dramatic, glass enclosed space, with great views of the Ridgely Road Forest Conservation, will serve as a gathering space for many of our parish activities and events through the week as well. Come and take a look.
Join us next weekend. Don’t forget, there is no Mass, Saturday, September 9. Masses on Sunday will be at the regular times. Each Mass will be followed by a “Dedication” prayer as we consecrate and dedicate this space to its sacred purpose.
And all afternoon we’ll be hosting a Dedication Celebration. Fun, food trucks, a barbecue on the plaza, we’ll even be showing the Ravens Game in the theatre. During our celebration we’ll be offering guided tours of the new church, including a look behind the scenes of spaces that will not be open to the public. Plan now on joining us. Invite your friends and neighbors, too!
See you next week in our new church!
Prayer for the Closing of a Church
In the mystery of your incarnate love,
you chose to dwell among us.
Rejected by the builders, you became our cornerstone,
and joined together the ends of the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Form us into one Church, built of living stones,
A spiritual house of God, and temple of the Holy Spirit.
For you, O Lord, are our builder and maker,
and lay the foundation of every life and home.
We lift up all those faithful men and women
of our parish, who through the years
sacrificed time, talent, and treasure,
to build and attend to the care of this church.
Let us remember with gratitude the many priests
who celebrated Mass at this altar,
and whose priestly care was experienced
in the preaching of the word in this church.
The lay ministers and parish staff who from this place,
attended to the care of the sick, the formation of youth,
the fellowship of believers,
and outreach to those who did not know your name.
Let us pray for those who received the sacraments
in this space over the last 45 years:
Those who were reborn in the living waters of Baptism
Couples who founded a holy family in the celebration of marriage
Those who experienced reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance or healing and strength in the Sacrament of Anointing
And all those to whom we bid good-bye and God’s speed through the Funeral Rites here observed.
We pray for all those who faithfully and reverently
have undertaken devotions here, on behalf of the whole parish:
the daily rosary; weekly and monthly adoration,
the Stations of the Cross.
The multitudes who have attended Mass, keeping holy the Sabbath and honoring your name.
Finally, we remember the silent prayer of all your children, uttered here in this church, day after day in sincerity of heart…knowing that each of these prayers has precious in your sight.
As we take leave of our church…
Turn our hearts toward our final destination,
The eternal Temple,
Where we will be citizens of an everlasting city,
Gathered around the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever, Amen.