As a Protestant, visiting a Catholic Church in the round was not something I had ever experienced before. I was curious to see how the unique architectural layout would enhance my worship experience. In this blog post, I will share my firsthand encounter of attending a Catholic Mass in the round and provide an honest perspective from a non-Catholic viewpoint. Join me as I describe my observations, emotions, and overall impression of this thought-provoking spiritual encounter.
As a Protestant, I have always been fascinated by the Catholic Church. So, when I had the opportunity to visit the Little Flower Church in St. Louis, I was thrilled. This Catholic Church is unique as it is built in the round and is not the typical cathedral-style church. During my visit, the church was set up for a funeral, and I had the chance to explore the building. The experience was nothing short of eye-opening, and it left a lasting impression on me.
Entry Point of the Church
The first striking feature of Little Flower Church is the design of the building itself. The entrance leads to an open, circular space, which is covered by a dome-shaped ceiling. This design aims to remind visitors of heaven, and the canopy effect offered by the ceiling mimics the heavens. The walls are adorned with beautiful murals that depict various scenes from the Bible, and the central altar is visible from any location within the building. The altar is the focal point of the church and represents Jesus Christ as the centerpiece of the universal church.
Chapels Dedicated to Different Aspects of Devotion
As I wandered through the church, I came across several side chapels dedicated to the various aspects of devotion. These chapels are not only beautiful and awe-inspiring, but they also tell a complete story of faith. Each of the chapels is unique, and they depict different events in the life of Jesus and the saints. Some of the chapels have statues, while others have frescoes and stained-glass windows.
The Theological Underpinnings and Structural Layout
The Little Flower Church has a structural layout that is grounded in theology. For instance, the round shape of the building represents the universality of the church. The circle is a symbol of the wholeness and unity that flows throughout the church. The central altar, which faces the congregation, is symbolic of the leadership position that Jesus holds in the Church. Additionally, the interior of the church is replete with symbols and icons that point to the mysteries of the faith, such as the sacraments, the Holy Trinity, and the saints.
As a Protestant, I had never been to confession before, so I found the confessionals at Little Flower Church to be fascinating. The confessionals are small, closed booths that allow the penitent and the priest to communicate privately. It is a place where Catholics confess their sins and receive absolution. For me, the confessionals highlighted the aspect of our frailty as humans and our need for God.
The Message of the Church
Although I am a Protestant, I found that the message conveyed in the Little Flower Church was very familiar. The church emphasizes the love of Christ and the redemption that he offers to humanity. It was a message that spoke to me and reminded me of the core beliefs that unites Christians regardless of their denomination. While there are differences between Catholic and Protestant traditions, at the end of the day, it is all about the same story of faith.
Encouragement to Visit
My visit to the Little Flower Church was a great experience, and I recommend it to anyone who is curious about the Catholic Church’s architecture and theology. The church’s unique design and symbolism make it an excellent place for contemplation and reflection. Overall, visiting it was a positive experience, and I would encourage others to give it a chance.
As I left the Little Flower Church, I felt as though I had just had an encounter with God in a new and unique way. The experience reminded me that the beauty of the Christian faith is the diversity and the depth it offers. Regardless of our denomination or faith tradition, visit to such places of worship can teach us a lot about the eternal truths that are shared among us all. So, if you are ever in St. Louis, stop by this beautiful church and connect with the Divine in a meaningful way.