Friday, March 5, 2010


In many rectories the bishop has given permission for chapels to be erected for adoration, prayer, and private Mass. It may seem odd to some that this is done being that rectories are often so closely connected to parish churches but no priest would think it odd. Assuming that you can find time that the church is not in use it almost never happens that you can go there and be unmolested by people who just happen to need to talk to you at that moment or a maintenance problem for which your advice is sought or that you feel you have to be well dressed in case someone is there. So you (read: I) stop going. You are not going to be able to pray or meditate in your homily anyway.

But the poverty of praying the Liturgy of the Hours or preparing a homily without the presence of the Lord is deemed by many priests (myself included) sad. So recently I petitioned the bishop to establish a chapel in the St. Sebastian Rectory.

In order to give permission for such a thing a bishop needs to visit the location. So one day Bishop Lennon and his liturgist stopped by the parish for a visit. They toured the possible rooms for use, the bishop listened to some ideas from his aid and then decreed that a chapel could indeed be established for the priests of the parish in the parish house. Until the bishop gave his permission, the room was used as an office. It was originally a guest suite that had been converted to an office and had a desk, chair, computer, bookcase, and all the other necessary items one finds in an office.
This is the decree signed by Bishop Lennon giving permission for the establishment of the chapel. Note that because of the limited space he does not give permission for Mass to be said there.
I think the space is wonderful and the best part about it is it cost next to nothing. Many of the items were stored away in the parish and simply brought out for use. All the material was on sale for next to nothing. The paint on the walls was left over paint from other projects around the parish. We use the space regularly for prayer, praying the Breviary together, or contemplating homilies. As you can see from the tail and the bone, the dog likes to pray in there with us.
Though it is not permissible to have the Blessed Sacrament in reserve it is not a bad idea to establish a prayer room, a prayer corner, or even a prayer shelf in your home or apartment as a place to help focus your prayers, be a visual reminder, a place to keep prayer intentions, or just be a witness to others.


Anonymous said...

How lovely, and what a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Father, you committed yourself to bringing a chapel into the rectory and the Lord brought in two more priests. Interesting.

Tom in Vegas said...

So happy you were able to build a chapel! I hope you have many visitors who will hopefully experience a profound contemplation.

Victoria said...

Father, your chapel is beautiful and thank you for the idea to set up a 'prayer place' in my home.

Sarah said...

I am truly delighted that you have a chapel. And thank you for detailing how very valuable it is.

Robert M Kraus Sr said...

Is the prayer chapel in the part of the building which is over the garage? If it is, I know a lot about the space. I made drawings for it. I know a lot . . . I could tell you a lot . . . . if you want to hear it.

Michelle said...

There is some wonderful advice about creating a personal prayer space in Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer by Gabriel Bunge OSB.

In my parish, the priests of the parish pray a portion of the LOH with the people (as is encouraged). (Morning prayer and the practices has been in place for more than two decades). It's been a great gift for those who have discovered the LOH in this way, and, I would hope, for our priests as well.