Sunday, November 05, 2006

Secular or Sacred?

More on the Washington National Cathedral: Music and Meditation at the Labyrinth, Sermons, Centering Prayer Programs-more Centering Prayer info, "Save the Earth"-Double Feature,
Sacred Circles (and I see Carol Lee Flinders is presenting soon).

You gotta see where Darth Vader is placed in the Cathedral! Whoa! (Be careful--"Don't go over to the dark side" after viewing!) All the Star Wars fans must love this and make pilgrimages to the church (?). Cathedral-Self-guided tour- "Wacky Western Gargoyles". Virtual Tour.

To find Darth Vader you have to leave the building through the ramp entrance. This is located at the northwest corner of the nave, through the double wooden doors of Lincoln Bay. Go down the ramp, and step into the parking lot. Then, turn around and look back up at the tower closest to you. He is almost impossible to see without the assistance of binoculars.

I sure would hate to see the image of an Ipod or image of Amercian Idol-Taylor Hicks in the stained glass window or on a column!

This reminds me of the time we were visiting colleges with our college bound student. We visited the campus of "The University of the South"-Swanee in TN. When we arrived we were impressed with the outside architecture of the (Episcopal sponsored private college) chapel on campus. It is Gothic looking and we thought that it was pretty until we took the inside tour of the building and property.
Our guide directed us to look up at the newly renovated stained glass windows- "You can see the image of a VW"! What? Excuse me? See what? "Yes, the artist placed the image of a Volkswagen Beetle in the stained glass." Needless to say, I was the only person in the touring/visiting group of parents and possible students, that did not see the actual image. My husband did tho. My child does not attend this college even though they offered a full 4 yr. scholarship. Horrible. Need I say more?

So, this is where we got the labyrinths, centering prayer and columbariums!? Oops, I mean this is where the 'ideas' came from -Episcopals? Be on the look out in your local Catholic diocese for the following...labyrinths, centering prayer groups/retreats, secular items displayed in windows or architecture, and of course columbariums! See - centering prayer-yoga (more here) and the see-the columbarium- "for burial of ashes". So now we encourage cremation? Building an area for ashes adjacent or inside a Catholic Church (btw this is NOT near a cemetery)? What does the church say about this? Isn't this encouraging cremation by building this structure? They do charge for the space and there's plenty of room in the area cemetery for this structure. So then what is the reason for a columbarium?


  1. Re the church's stance on cremation: The catechism says that Cremation is permitted provided this is not done to express a disbelief in the resurrection of the dead. When funerals were "homemade" and not a materialistic, lucrative industry, (before mid- 20th century) burial was encouraged by the church. But the average cost of the commercial funeral is now outrageous and many families are emotionally manipulated into debt by funeral industry professionals who make profits from persuading grieving relatives to go into debt with excessive expenditure. Cremation is a dignified and economical alternative; the ashes can be interred in the holy ground of a cemetery or other consecrated place, which includes the columbarium on church grounds. Recent changes in Catholic funeral liturgy now permit solemn rites over ashes as well as the uncremated body. In the interests of holy simplicity and as a rrejection of the commercialization of death by the funeral industry, my husband and I have decided to be cremated, followed by the appropriate funeral rites in the church followed by either burial, or placement in the columbarium of the church where we were married.

  2. Our parish has an area set aside for burial of cremains.I can't really understand why some would have a problem with that. But, then again, I do centering prayer too.I do like the name "Catherine of Siena". She's the patron saint of the city of my wife's birth...Dumaguete Philippines.

  3. Now that I posted the comment I see have the wrong St. Catherine. St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of Dumaguete. My mistake, but the name is still nice.