What Is a Sacred Space?
- A sacred space is a prominent place in the room that draws the attention of the students, through various signs and symbols, to the mystery that is being proclaimed
- It typically involves a small table on which is placed a crucifix, a bible, and any other visual cues that pertain to the catechesis for that day
- Families can also have a sacred space in the home, to give family members a place to pray together or to facilitate celebration of the liturgical year
How Do I Create One?
- The crucifix should be the largest object on the table, so as to emphasize the singular importance of what Christ did for us.
- It is the crucifixion that makes every catechetical endeavor even possible.
- Ultimately, catechesis is about a relationship with this Jesus who died for us
- Everything we believe as Catholics is Christ-centered
- The Bible is displayed in order to communicate the significance of God's Word.
- It also tells them: this is the place where the Word is proclaimed.
- The Bible can be placed in a book stand, so that it is presented to the students and they can see what type of book it is.
- It can be closed, or turned to the first passage you will be citing in your teaching
- Make sure the Bible you display is a nice, regal edition.
- It is good to use this Bible throughout your teaching, unless placing and removing it from the stand is too awkward
- The table cloth should be the color of the current liturgical season
- This keeps the students oriented within the liturgical year
- Green for Ordinary Time, Purple/Violet for Lent and Advent, White for Christmas and Easter and All Saints' Day, Red for Pentecost or the Feast Day of a martyr, Rose for Gaudete Sunday (third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (fourth Sunday of Lent), Black for All Souls' Day
- Cloth should be of fine material, nice, and not wrinkled.
- Include great works of art
- Paintings and sculpture communicate what is beautiful about a teaching
- Children in particular learn a lot more from beautiful illustrations then from your own words
- Examples: Michelangelo's God Creates Adam for a catechesis on Creation, his Pieta for a catechesis on Mary as the Mother of God, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper for a catechesis on the Eucharist or the Paschal Mystery or the Mass, a statue of St. Michael the Archangel for a catechesis on Sin and Temptation or the Fall of the Angels or the Communion of Saints
- For more on the importance of injecting beauty into your teaching and your sacred space, see Beauty and Catechesis
- Be creative! What you can do with your sacred space is limited only by your imagination (and these guidelines, of course!)
- Teach from your sacred space.
- As you proceed to various points in your catechesis, utilize any objects from your space that would help to illustrate or communicate that point.
- For works of art, you can even do a mini-catechesis on what is going on in a particular painting, and how it illustrates your teaching