Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 17, 2006
Collins offers downtown place of prayer
St. Benedict's plans a 'spiritual oasis'
By RAMON GONZALEZ
It places at the heart of our busy world . . . in the very centre of Edmonton a point of stillness, of peace - the presence of our Lord,"
- Archbishop Thomas Collins
"I'm really excited about it. It places at the heart of our busy world in the very centre of Edmonton a point of stillness, of peace - the presence of our Lord," Collins said.
"I think it's something important for Catholics who are working in that area or shopping or visiting that area, but also for people of other faiths who might be interested in just a quiet place of prayer."
The 1,200 square feet oratory will be manned by a fulltime priest-chaplain and will offer daily Mass and Confession. There will be an office at the back of the chapel for the chaplain. Additional priests might be appointed to assist when the chaplain is not available.
"It is a place of prayer. It's a place where we can have within a few minutes walk, without ever going outside, the celebration of Mass and the possibility for Confession and a place of prayer," the archbishop explained.
"It's not like a church. So there will be no funerals or weddings or baptisms; sacraments of that type that are found in a regular parish will not be taking place at this chapel. It's really intended to be a place of prayer."
"I asked the designers to produce a place of serenity, of beauty and of peace."
- Archbishop Thomas Collins
There will be a place at the 54-seat chapel for people to spend time before the Lord and the Blessed Sacrament but "we won't have exposition there, I don't think," Collins said.
The archbishop said he's been thinking having a chapel downtown for some time.
"There are many people who work there and many people visit there and I thought that it would be very, very good to have a chapel right in the centre of that world of the office towers and stores downtown," he said.
Unlike the Corpus Christi Chapel at St. Andrew's, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, St. Benedict Chapel will only be open from Monday to Saturday and only during the daytime and perhaps the early evening.
"I think we will have an early morning Mass and maybe one or two later in the day, depending on how we can work out a schedule of priests to celebrate the Mass."
St. Benedict Chapel is still an empty store but things will take shape over the summer.
"The designing of it is taking place right now," Collins explained.
"I asked the designers to produce a place of serenity, of beauty and of peace - an oasis in the midst of a busy world.
"It is still in the early stages but it'll be great," he said excitedly.
"I think it'll be wonderful. We are reaching out, reaching out to this world and trying to let the light of Christ shine and let there be this beautiful, wonderful treasure - this chapel that will be a blessing for everyone. We need to always reach out. That's the spirit of the Gospel."
Collins is looking to set up a roster of volunteers who would each spend an hour or two a week at the chapel welcoming visitors.
The archbishop is also planning to establish an association of the patrons or friends of St. Benedict Chapel - a group of people who would be willing to donate on a regular basis towards the cost of running the chapel.
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