Imagination and Possibility

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Were you at mass this weekend? If so, you walked into the gathering space, if you came in that way, and saw an eye-popping array of visuals. Photos and a poster on the “St. Edward” wall, an amazing Steinway piano, and an image of what our new church may look like, if we do that route, projected onto the wall.

It was quite spectacular. Personally, I enjoyed hearing people guessing what church the windows might have come from. As many parishioners grew up in other parishes, their own roots go back to so many places in the diocese. To see the elements of their old parish and to think it might end up here, has the potential to be very powerful.

Fr. Pat’s talk reminded us all of the power of the Catholic imagination, the impact of Catholic sensibility, and how that impacts us as God’s people.

As Catholics we encounter God not simply “out there” or “up there” but in a more immanent way – something like (my words, not Fr. Pat’s) the Ignatian way of seeing God in all things.

If you grew up Catholic, what do you remember about your church as a kid? I know that I loved the stained glass windows. The bright colors, the pictures of the saints and the stories I learned about them. And I really loved the images of the Nativity or of the Virgin Mary, whom I loved.

There was the smell of the wood of the pews and the scent of Murphy’s Oil Soap, which must have been used to clean those pews. And the smell of incense was always present.

All of these things, the way that all of our senses are engaged, does not make us better – but it does make us different. It is in these things that we find possibility and transformation. What possibility exists without imagination?

Add to that – buildings and architecture speak. And from that too comes possibility.

Who are we as God’s people? And where are we going? That is what we are all praying about now!


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