Remembering Our Past: Share Your Memories 
As we are about to begin the refurbishment of our Shrine Church, we are asking that everyone take the time to reflect and remember all the ways your life has been transformed in our church. There are countless cherished memories of important things that have taken place in our Shrine Church over the last 40 years. The people and events these memories evoke will always be part of this sacred place. To honor that, we will have a special memory box in the narthex from May 27 through June 4 for all of us to place a memento, note, prayer, memory picture, prayer card, the program/booklet from a wedding or funeral that took place in the Shrine Church since 1976. That memory box will be placed underneath the sanctuary of the Shrine Church symbolizing that those people and events are always part of this church and parish family. There will be more details about that in next week’s bulletin.
This article appeared in the bulletin published May 21, 2017. 

Remembering Our Past
Then the Lord said … “Return to the land of your ancestors, where you were born, and I will be with you.” (Genesis 31:3)
If you did not have a chance, please take some time over the next few weeks to view the photos on display in the narthex that highlight some of the beautiful history of Saint Catherine Labouré Parish. Photos include:
Reverend Monsignor Charles J. Murray, the first pastor of the newly founded church.
May 2, 1948: First Holy Communion celebrated in the Municipal Building.
Christmas Mass, 1948: Celebrated in the basement social room which is now Saints Cyril and Methodius Hall or school cafeteria.
We have so many memories to share. We look forward to seeing you this summer as we build on our past, begin creating new memories and a vision to our future.
This article appeared in the bulletin published May 14, 2017.

Open your HEART to lend a helping HAND this summer as we prepare for the return to our original church to PRAY, believe and live as disciples. Sign up today in the narthex by writing your name, your Mass availability (date and time) to serve as a greeter, usher or on the clean-up team throughout the summer months. Families are encouraged to sign up together!

· Summertime Greeter: We will have four entrances so we will need additional friendly faces to greet people as they enter for Mass.
· Ushers: To guide people to available seats throughout the space.
• Clean Team: To maintain an orderly space by ensuring missalettes are replaced on seats after Mass.
This article appeared in the bulletin published May 7, 2017.

Murray Hall Transformation
This summer will be a time to remember our past as we prepare for our future. As our Shrine Church is being refurbished, we will be returning to Murray Hall (the site of our first church) as the place for Prayer, Mass, the Sacraments, Daily Eucharistic Adoration, and Novena. We are striving to make Murray Hall a dignified and prayerful place of worship this summer.

We need your help throughout the summer by volunteering as:
Summertime Greeter: We will have three entrances so we will need additional friendly faces to greet people as they enter for Mass.
Ushers: To guide people to available seats throughout the space.
Clean Team: To maintain an orderly space by ensuring missalettes are replaced on seats after Mass.

We will have sign-up sheets in the narthex beginning on Saturday, May 6th. It’s a great opportunity to volunteer as a family. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to join in and be a part of this historic summer here at Saint Catherine’s .
This article appeared in the bulletin published April 30, 2017.

What to Expect: Construction
In consultation with Pyramid Construction Services, the construction timeline has been finalized with all construction work beginning on Monday, June 5. The timeline includes:

Jun 3/4: Final Masses in Shrine Church
Jun 4: Blessing of Construction during 11:30 a.m. Mass
Spirit Move Day (details soon)
Jun 5: Major Construction Begins
Jun 5-7: Murray Hall transformed into Worship Space
Jun 10/11: Mass in Summer Worship Space, Murray Hall
Aug 20: Dinner on Derry with Shrine Church Open House
Aug 21: Mass Returns to Shrine Church

As we finalize details, we continue to count on your support of this project as we pray, believe, and live as disciples, Honoring the Vision.
This article appeared in the bulletin published April 23, 2017.

Entering the Church
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
On Palm Sunday, palm fronds are distributed to all in the narthex prior to our entrance into the church.
During the refurbishment project, the:
• Doorways from the narthex into the church will be reconfigured from two to three entryways.
• A double door entrance will be at the center flanked by two single door entrances.
• Woodwork will be stained to match the woodwork within the church.
• Doors will be glass so that those individuals in the narthex will have full view of the sanctuary.
• Entrances will be handicap accessible by the addition of electric touch pad/push plates in the narthex.
This article appeared in the bulletin published April 9, 2017.

What to Expect
Before swinging the first hammer on April 24th, preparations must begin prior to that date. One of our overall goals during Phase 1 of construction is to maintain a working restroom in the narthex. Here’s what to expect beginning Tuesday, April 18th:
Daily Eucharistic Adoration will move to the Shrine Church.
The oratory will be converted to a temporary sacristy.
On Sunday, April 23rd, a blessing of the construction will be held at the 11:30 a.m. Mass.
Beginning April 24th:
A protective barrier will be installed to ensure safe access to the restrooms and to minimize impact on common areas in and around the narthex.
The current sacristy will be reconfigured and refurbished.
A new family restroom will be built.
Prayer in the Shrine Church and activities in the narthex will not be interrupted during Phase 1 of construction.
This article appeared in the bulletin published April 2, 2017.

REFURBISHMENT DETAILS: Four Weeks Away to the start of Phase 1 beginning April 24, 2017. More details to come next week.  This article appeared in the bulletin published March 26, 2017.

Technology and Communication
Communication, wherever and however it takes place, has opened up broader horizons for many people. This is a gift of God which involves a great responsibility.” — Pope Francis, Message for World Communications Day 2016
Traditional church communications take on many forms; the weekly bulletin, lector announcements or special mailings to our homes. Technology has increased the methods we use to communicate. Today, we receive e-newsletters, search a website, read a social media post or are notified through an “app” – a downloadable software program for mobile devices.
In our Refurbishment Project, technology will be integrated in several ways:
• Larger, easier to read electronic hymnal boards
• Messaging screens in the narthex (turned off during Mass)
• Expanded Wi-Fi access in narthex and a new parish “app”
• An induction loop system that transmits the spoken and sung word directly and clearly to a listener’s hearing aid equipped with a T-coil
This article appeared in the bulletin published March 19, 2017.

Six Weeks Away
It was just over four years ago, in February 2013 when we received permission from Bishop McFadden to begin our concept study. Today, we are only six weeks away from the first phase of construction in our long overdue Refurbishment project. Here is a brief overview of what to expect as we prepare for this special time in our parish’s history. Beginning on:
• April 24: Auxiliary construction in the narthex
• May 29: Murray Hall transformed into our summer Worship Space
• June 3-4: Final Masses in Shrine Church
• June 5: Major Construction Begins
• June 5: All liturgical celebrations in Murray Hall
• August 20: Dinner on Derry with Shrine Church Open House
• August 21: Mass Returns to Shrine Church
We count on your support of this project as we pray, believe, and live as disciples, Honoring the Vision.
This article appeared in the bulletin published March 12, 2017.

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Is there any truth to the saying that when March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb? Our weather has been unpredictable these last few weeks with summer-like weather temperatures changing back to below freezing within one week, if not within the same day.

As unpredictable as the weather may be, it is good to know that we will always have a safe haven within our Shrine Church. A place which protects us from the rain and snow and provides a cool respite during hot weather.

Our heating and air conditioning system is the original unit installed in 1976. Although we have been blessed with its longevity, it can no longer handle the challenge to regulate and maintain the temperature inside the church.

During our refurbishment project, we will be replacing the HVAC system with a new system that will include centralized control panels to aid in regulating the temperature during all seasons. The new system will also be more efficient which will help to control operating expenses.
This article appeared in the bulletin published March 5, 2017.

Stations of the Cross/Wall Pews
In the fourth century, soon after the decree of Constantine that made Christianity legal, men and women began making pilgrimages to Jerusalem to walk along the way that Jesus took to Golgotha and his execution. Soon the practice developed that pilgrims would move from spot to spot, in Jerusalem, commemorating different events that happened during the passion and death of our Lord.

Devotions to the Way of the Cross found the form that they are now by the fourteenth century. But not everyone was able to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. So a custom started to display images depicting the passion and death of Jesus, and worshipers could experience the way of the cross without the expense and danger of a journey to Jerusalem. By the seventeenth century Pope Clement XII allowed all Churches to install stations and fixed the number at fourteen.

Our Shrine Church has fourteen Stations of the Cross that allow us to make a spiritual journey to Jerusalem. In our refurbishment project, the stations will be cleaned and returned to the perimeter of the Shrine Church. Each station will be individually illuminated. The addition of travertine tile flooring in the front of each station will signify their importance and to delineate a place for the faithful to gather to pray and reflect.

The seating along the wall will be retained. Padded backs will be added for comfort as well as help with acoustics.
This article appeared in the bulletin published February 26 2017.

The Baptismal Font
The placement of the new shrine for the Miraculous Medal in the area where the baptismal font currently is, prompted us to consider an alternate location for the font.

The liturgical law provides options for the placement of the font but requires the font always to be on the same axis as the altar, because Baptism leads to the Eucharist. One of those options is at the entrance to the church. Our refurbishment plan places the font there.

A larger basin will enhance the current base of the font and a system will be added to easily fill the font with water and then drain the blessed water directly into the ground. To signify this special place, the font will be placed on Travertine marble tile in the shape of octagon—symbolic of the Eighth Day—the Day of the Resurrection.

Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ and opens the door to the other Sacraments. Whether it be for Mass, the Sacrament of Penance, a Wedding, a Devotion, or just quite prayer, envision the powerful way we will be reminded of our baptism by blessing ourselves with water from the baptismal font each time we enter the church

The Funeral Mass begins with greeting the body of the deceased at the door of the church and sprinkling with Holy Water saying: In the waters of baptism [Name] one died with Christ and rose with Him to new life. May he/she now share with Him eternal glory. Envision the moving symbol of taking water directly from the baptism font for this ritual.

The placement of the font at the entrance to the church beautifully shows the journey of discipleship: Baptism leads to the altar and the altar leads to the Eucharist: Jesus Christ, who lead us to Eternal Life.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on February 19, 2017.

Flooring Choices
A famous encounter of Jesus with the apostles is when He walked across the water to them while they were in a boat. Simon Peter then gets out of the boat and starts to walk to Jesus on the water. He’s fine until he gets distracted by the wind, and then he sinks.

When we come to church, we walk on a number of surfaces with our hearts fixed on Jesus with His arms outstretched to embrace us.

In our refurbished Shrine Church, we won’t be walking on water. But we will be walking on surfaces chosen for their quality, functionality, and symbolism.

Sanctuary: In church design, we use the principal of “hierarchy of textiles”. That means more noble textiles are used to signify the more holy of all the sacred place. To express its specialness, the sanctuary flooring will be travertine marble tile. A hard surface is also more functional in this area where candles and incense/charcoal are used. To signify and connect the other special places in the church, the travertine tile will also be used for the flooring under the Miraculous Medal Shrine, Stations of the Cross, Baptismal Font, and the statues in the Narthex.

Nave Pews: Ceramic tile will be used under the pews. The use of tile in this area indicates the sacredness of the people gathered to pray. Strong tile -rather than carpet- reminds us that our lives must be built on solid rock—Jesus Himself.

Aisles: Carpet will be used to assist our acoustical engineering to improve our sound system. Carpet will also be under the pews along the church walls.

Narthex: Carpet with built-in walk-off mats at the doors.

Sacristy: Ceramic tile that is durable since candles and incense/charcoal are prepared in the sacristy, ceramic tile that is durable will be installed. A high quality vinyl tile will be installed in the restrooms.

Restrooms: High quality vinyl tile.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on February 12, 2017.

The Sanctuary
In the Sacred Scripture we find the term Holy of Holies. It refers to the inner sanctuary of the Jewish Temple where God dwelt. There was kept the Ark of the Covenant said to contain the tablets of the Ten Commandments. In Catholic liturgical theology and architecture, the entire church is a sacred place. But the sanctuary holds a most special rank—the holiest space of the entire holy space.

The sanctuary is where the altar, ambo, and tabernacle stand, and where the priest, deacon and other ministers exercise their duties. The special character of the sanctuary is expressed by the distinctiveness of its design, furnishings, and elevation. It is from the sanctuary that we are fed from the Table of the Word (the ambo) and the Table of the Eucharist (the altar). Our refurbishment plan includes enhancements that honor this area of the church.

The Ambo:
• Will be enlarged by combining the current ambo and cantor stand to form a substantial place for God’s Word.
• The place where the book of Sacred Scripture rests will be height adjustable for a person using a wheelchair.
The Altar:
• Simple brass detail will be added to the front of the altar to match the brass/marble design of the ambo and tabernacle.
The Tabernacle:
• Will be moved to the center of the sanctuary, as a witness that the Eucharist is the center of our lives.
• As required by Universal Church Law and Diocesan Directives, the door will be solid and opaque.
• Side panels with adoring angels will be added to further express that this is the most holy dwelling of Jesus, truly and really present in the Eucharist.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on February 5, 2017.

Ramp to the Sanctuary
Our parish welcomes everyone, including persons with disabilities. We remember both Father Delarm’s and Monsignor Topper’s courageous witness to us. Currently Monsignor Overbaugh, Deacon Flannery, and several parishioners who wish to serve in liturgical ministries are unable to climb the steps to the sanctuary. Our refurbishment plan will make the sanctuary (area of the altar, ambo, tabernacle, etc.) completely handicap accessible.
• The current configuration of four steps to the altar level and then two more steps to the chairs will be adjusted to a one-level three-step structure that still provides excellent sightlines for the entire assembly to see the sanctuary from the nave.
• Along the ambo side of the church, a ramp will be constructed behind a half-wall providing handicap access to the sanctuary. This wall provides the area for the Miraculous Medal to be enshrined, viewed, and venerated.
• To maintain symmetry, the architect has added a similar half-wall behind the choir. The area behind this wall will provide much needed storage for music and sound equipment as well as a small sacristy area for storage and preparing things needed during Mass.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on January 29, 2017.

Let There Be Light: Lighting System Improvements
Can You Hear Me Now: Sound Improvements
Saint John begins his first letter in the New Testament with these words: We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).

Seeing and hearing are important in the celebration of the Liturgy. We need to be able to see the words on the page that we are praying, the texts we are singing, the Scripture we are reading. We need to be able to hear the Word of God as it is proclaimed and preached as well as the beautiful prayers of our sacred tradition. That’s why significant attention has been given to lighting and sound improvements in our Shrine Church Refurbishment Project. These include:

• Installing a state of the art, long-lasting LED lighting system to provide better lighting in a more cost effective and energy efficient way.
• Adding larger, easier to read hymn number boards.
• Strengthening our Sound System with the best technology suited for our church’s circular design.
• Adding an induction loop system that transmits the spoken and sung word directly and clearly to a listener’s hearing aid equipped with a T-coil.
• Providing assistive listening devices (headsets/ear buds) for those without hearing aids or whose hearing aids are not equipped with T-coils.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on January 22, 2017.

A Place for Everyone: Making Seating Accessible
Our parish welcomes everyone, including persons with disabilities. Today, and in the coming weeks, we will share information on how seating, sound, sanctuary changes will make the vision a reality.

Our refurbishment plan will make sure that our pews and seating areas will be accessible and comfortable for everyone.

The seating for the assembly in the nave will be adjusted to allow for more room between the pews. The seating along the wall of the church will be retained.

By looking at the floor plan, it might appear that our seating capacity is reduced. Be assured that when we apply today’s best standards and norms for comfort and spacing to the seating configuration established in 1976, our seating capacity is reduced by only 16 seats.

We are also adding 12 places for wheelchairs in different areas throughout the church. The seating plan assures, whenever possible, that persons with disabilities or wheelchair accessible needs will have a choice of seating locations. Whenever possible, parishioners with disabilities will be able to be seated adjacent to companions so they may worship together.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on January 15, 2017.

The Confessionals: Places of Welcome and Mercy
When the family of God gathers, every person should be welcomed into the worshiping assembly with respect and care. God said through the Prophet Isaiah “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” The U.S. bishops stated it’s essential the Liturgy be completely accessible to persons with disabilities, since the Liturgy binds the Christian community together.

A major focus and reason for our Shrine Church refurbishment project is accessibility. We want to make sure that everyone not only can get into to our beautiful church, but once they are inside, that they can get around inside the church and celebrate the Sacraments. Therefore, our refurbishment plan includes extending handicap accessibility to the confessionals.

Our two confessionals will be:
• Reconfigured to allow persons using a wheelchair or other mobility assistive equipment to enter and navigate within the confessional. These modification will be made to both priest and penitent side.
• Equipped with assistive listening devices to allow those with hearing impairments to celebrate the Sacrament with dignity.
• Refreshed and renewed with improved sound proofing floor and wall coverings as well as warm and inviting lighting to welcome penitents as they seek God’s help and mercy.

Our refurbished confessionals will provide a prayerful and accessible sacred space for all to encounter Jesus, Who heals our hearts and forgive our sins.
This article appeared in the bulletin published on January 8, 2017.