by Chris Canniff
Lannon Chapel, situated in the basement of Saint Ignatius Church, was recently reconfigured by the parish to test what positive impacts a layout change might have on the community that worships there.
The reconfiguration of the chapel involved relocating the sanctuary space and altar, which previously was along the wall that is parallel with Commonwealth Avenue, to the opposite wall. The lectern, however, remains where the altar previously stood, although now more centered on that side of the chapel so that the lectern and the altar face one another directly. The chairs have also been repositioned into a more circular configuration.
Mass is said in the chapel on weekdays at 12:15 and 5:30pm. On Sundays, two Masses are held there during the day, one at 10am and the other, which is in Spanish, at 12 noon. On Sunday
evenings at 9pm, there is a Campus Ministry Mass attended by many members of the BC community.
Natasha Lopez, A&S ’15, serves as one of the sacristans for the 9pm Mass each week. When asked about her initial thoughts on the new arrangement, she said, “I was unsure what to make of it at first. I felt uncomfortable the first week because I kept making eye contact with the people sitting across from me, which was never a problem in the past. After having Mass with the new set up twice, I’m starting to like it more. Last week, we had many more students come to Mass than I was expecting. One benefit of the new configuration is that even those sitting in the back feel a part of the community.”
Fr. Don MacMillan, SJ, one of the campus ministers who oversees the Mass, commented that one aspect of the reconfiguration that he likes best is its emphasis on the two different components of the liturgy. By placing the lectern facing the altar, the distinctness of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist is more clearly represented.
The new configuration has also caused some logistical difficulties that are being worked out by campus ministers. The positioning of the Liturgy Arts Group, which provides the music for the Mass, and the positioning of Eucharistic ministers during the distribution of Communion are still being considered and adjusted.
As a sacristan, Lopez said one of her concerns is trying not to be disruptive to worshippers as she carries out her responsibilities.
“With the altar in the center of the room, it’s difficult for me to move around unnoticed. I try not to be visible when I’m moving around during Mass.”
Only two Campus Ministry Masses have been held in the chapel since the reconfiguration, and the issues of logistics will continue to be evaluated and addressed over the coming weeks.
Despite these remaining considerations, Lopez is pleased with the overall result.
“I think it’s good for the community. The new set up encouraged people to move around. I think that’s a good thing because people tend to sit in the same place each week with their friends. Now, it’s more open and inviting to meeting new people.”