Sunday, June 08, 2003

The Cathedral Center: "Let this house proclaim from floor to rafters: all are welcome in this place"

This morning, the Cathedral Project was completed. After Mass, +Timothy and +Richard and a goodly portion of the congregation marched to the other end of the cathedral block, and the Cathedral Center for Women and their Families was blessed. [Afterwards, there was a reception for staff and certain donors --- being poor and retired I wasn't in on that --- where they distributed the "wish list" of things they still need. I've got that list in hand, in case any of my readers might be wealthy.....] They will receive their first guests tomorrow morning. [Capacity is 36 single women and 8 families]

The place is beautifully rebuilt; the years of work and millions of dollars were spent well. There's something they need, though, that isn't on their wish list. Every bed had sheets and a good, warm, but depressingly institutional grey, blanket, and no coverlet. So, tonight I get out the crochet hook and start a twin bed afghan. Maybe in a few years, if others noticed the same thing I did, there will be a full set of afghans, quilts, comforters, and bright colored coverlets to help reduce that institutionalized feeling, especially for the littler guests. I can't donate $5000 worth of washers and dryers, but I can still crochet some pretty nifty granny squares!

Here are the blessing prayers:

Lord, our God,
You whose home is in heaven and on earth,
and in that undiscovered beyond,
come and bless this shelter;
surround it with Your Holy Spirit.

Encompass all its four sides
with the power of Your protection
so that no evil or harm will come near.

May that divine blessing
shield this home from destruction, storm, sickness,
and from all that might bring evil
to those who shall live within these walls.

[sprinkle front of building w/ holy water. Make sign of Cross on the doors.]

Blessed be this doorway.
May all who come to it
be treated with respect and kindness.
May all comings and goings
be under the seal of God's loving care.

[open doors, enter]

Blessed be the offices and interview rooms.
May all who work in them
be models of God's love, care, and compassion.

Blessed be those rooms where nourishment takes place.
May all meals served here
be sacraments of the Presence of God.

Blessed be the bathrooms.
May the spirit of health and healing abide here,
teaching how to honor and love our bodies.
Blessed be the bedrooms,
for here shall all find rest, refreshment, and renewal.

May the spirit of love and affection,
together with the spirit of angelic care,
touch all who shall use these rooms.

Lord our God,
may Your divine Name be always Holy within this dwelling.
May Your Kingdom come in this place,
teaching those who live here love and respect
for themselves and for each other.

May the doors be always open to all women and children in need.
May friends who come in times of trouble and sorrow
find these doors open to them and to their needs.
May the Holy Light of God's Presence
shine forth brightly in this home,
and be a blessing for everyone who shall come to this door.

May God's blessing rest upon this shelter and all who shall dwell here
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[Hymn "All Are Welcome." Bishops go through building, sprinkling all areas on all floors ....]

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