Sunday, August 12, 2018
By Bob Kolotorowicz
“Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
Exodus 3: 5
If asked, I believe we could easily generate a list of places that are considered holy or sacred. The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, The Shrine at Lourdes, and, certainly, The Holy Land itself.
Stretching beyond our Catholic Faith Tradition, we might add the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, The Western Wall in Jerusalem, and the Kaaba in Mecca. These are well known and revered public places of prayer and worship. And there are, of course, many more such sacred places.
Also, I suspect that we each may have places special to us, not public, but private. Can they be sacred, too? Are they holy? The mystics, prophets, and saints among us say that it is precisely the places where we experience God’s energy and love working within and through us that are, in truth, holy ground. So in addition to churches and other houses of prayer, our spiritual instincts help us recognize the sacred in other spaces.
The restaurant where you first had dinner with the man who would become your husband. That stretch of running path that takes you through a quiet wood. Holy ground.
The beach where you watch your grandchildren play in the surf. The surgical suite where each day the lives of people in your care depend on your knowledge and skill. Holy ground.
That starter house you weren’t sure you could afford, but where you and your wife brought your babies home and you became a family. The neighborhood food pantry where you serve as a volunteer. Holy ground.
The classroom where you teach. The kitchen where you prepare food for family and guests as they gather around a table. Holy ground.
Your car parked in the hospital lot where you quietly whisper prayers before visiting a dying loved one. Holy ground.
I am sure we could all add to this list of personal sacred spaces and the stories that are associated with these places, no doubt, would be poignant, sometimes funny, but always profound and revelatory of Divine Spirit.
But now I invite you to consider another space. This summer there has been much anticipation about opening up the new space Old St. Patrick’s owns in the 625 W. Adams Street office tower. Being neither timid nor lacking imagination, the people of Old St. Patrick’s have long envisioned the space at 625 W. Adams Street to be so much more than meeting rooms with parking (though the whole parking arrangement is awesome!). The dream has always been to create a new sacred space in the city. This sacred space would be a public space but not a church. We’ve had that covered since 1856. No, the dream was to create a new sacred space in the heart of the city that would welcome all people, providing room for learning, dialogue, celebration, prayer, and the cultivation of community. The dream was to open yet a new door into the experience of God’s energy and love working within and through us. Holy ground.
Having been in that space for a sneak preview, I can say with confidence, you will be impressed. Please make sure to stop by on Sunday, August 26th for an “open house’’ following the Sunday liturgies.
And as we begin to use our new community space in the 625 W. Adams office tower, we would like to extend another special invitation to Old St. Patrick’s Church members, friends, and staff to help “baptize” the space by bringing your stories of faith and mission to the new building. We plan to gather on Saturday, September 22 for a morning of song, prayer, and shared stories. Intrigued? More details coming soon. So please save the date!