Come Higher, Friend?

Our monastery is blessed to have a beautiful and large chapel which is open everyday from 6AM to 7PM for anyone who wishes to come and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Because the original plans for our monastery called for a basilica with 15 side altars dedicated to the mysteries of the Rosary with a traditional monastery attached our chapel is, frankly, oversized. It can seat about 350 people! Our choir is behind the altar and seats about 54 nuns although our monastery isn't big enough to house that many! When the Depression came, all work on the basilica stopped and was not resumed until 1937. At that time the Bishop gave approval for the building to continue but the ENTIRE monastery and chapel had to be built on the existing foundation and and crypt. It's made for a unique monastery in many ways! As one sister likes to say, "our monastery has character!"

Original design drawing of the monastery.

About 10-25 people come to our 7:15 AM Daily Mass and about 75 people come to our 7:30 AM Sunday Mass (we get to sleep in for 15 minutes!). Holy Mass is celebrated with Father facing us including the Gospel and homily. On Sundays the Gospel and homily are done from the large pulpit facing the people. It never ceases to amaze us that no one will sit in the first 10 to 15 pews and often on the weekdays EVERYONE is sitting in the back!

There is an old joke that you can tell that you are in a Catholic church because no one sits in the front row! The other day we were talking about this and wondering why it is that Catholics, especially those who come to daily Mass won't sit in the front and be close to the Eucharistic Sacrifice? Why is this even in a large chapel or church? Does anyone have any idea why this is so? If you sit toward the back, why?