I’m celebrating Mass all this week in the chapel in the spiritual center at St.Mary’s Parish, Colts Neck, NJ. The chapel was designed by Fr. William Bausch, pastor of St. Mary’s for many years, a prolific author, superb homilist and a priest beloved by his people. He recently published a book, at 90 years old!
The chapel windows behind the altar face a garden and a distant row of trees. A weathered cross from the first parish church stands in the garden. The natural world, which has given us bread and wine, and the parish of the past join us as we give thanks at Mass to God the Creator, through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
The chapel altar is carved from a tree, one of its branches providing a stand for the book of the altar. So the trees of the forest are here too.
The altar stands under an octagonal roof. Here we have the mystery of the eight day, the day that never ends, the place Jesus prepares for us, as he says in the gospel of John today.
“Master, we do not know where we are going,” Thomas says in today’s gospel. Here in signs the place is pointed out. The Cross of Jesus ends in a garden.