Sunday, December 18, 2011

Consecrated Church - crosses & candles

Ever wonder what the twelve candles on the interior walls of our church are all about?  Well, they are on our mind too because we decorated them today and will light them at Midnight Mass on Christmas.

The twelve candles are really there to shed light on the crosses behind them. 

Those crosses signify that St. Benedict's is a consecrated church. Consecration differs from mere blessing in this, that it imprints an indelible mark on the building by reason of which it may never be transferred to common or profane uses.  St. Benedict's church was consecrated on November 11, 1970 by Bishop James A. McNulty.

The ordinary minister of consecration is the diocesan bishop. ... To consecrate a church licitly it is necessary to consecrate a fixed altar in the same church, which altar ordinarily ought to be the main one (Cong. Sac. Rit., 19 Sept., 1665). ... The essence of the consecration of a church consists in the anointing of the twelve crosses on the inner walls with the form: "Sancificetur et consecretur hoc templum", etc. ... On the walls inside the church twelve crosses must be painted, or (if they are made of stone or metal) attached to the walls. These crosses are not to be of wood or of any fragile material. They must never be removed (Cong. Sac. Rit., 18 February, 1696), and documents failing, they serve to prove that the church has been consecrated. Under each cross a bracket holding a candle is affixed.