A Tour of the Church

What to see in the Church

The Sanctuary:

This is the area of a church where the main functions of the Liturgy, or Church Worship, are carried out.

Within the Sanctuary are:

The Altar:

This is a large marble 'table' placed in a central position and raised above the general level of the church so tha! it is clearly visible to the congregation. The Altar is the Table of the Eucharist. Two candles are placed upon It, representing the' Light of Christ'. On the front of the altar there is depicted a Crown of Thorns enclosing the nails of crucifixion and the Jesus monogram, IHS, a symbol formed from the first three letters of the Greek spelling of JESUS

The Tabernacle:

Immediately behind the Altar is a pedestal on which is placed the Tabernacle. This contains the Ciborium in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved so that Holy communion may be taken to the sick and housebound and so that people who wish may come and spend some time in prayer and adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The word Tabernacle comes from a Hebrew word meaning 'a tent'. The Israelites carried a special tent containing symbols of the presence of God during the long years when they lived as nomads in the desert before reaching the Promised Land.

Above the Tabernacle there is a large Resurrection Crucifix. Instead of the more usual representation of the dying Christ on the cross there is a figure of the risen, triumphant Jesus, assuring us of his continued presence among us.

In early 1998, a work of redecoration of the Sanctuary was undertaken. The artist was Mr. Nigel Leaney, formerly of Lincoln Art College and an expert in restoration work, who assembled a team of former art students to assist in the extensive undertaking. Using the themes from the stainglass windows and a form of painting known as 'Cosmati', together with the marbling of the Canopy or Baldachin over the Sanctuary, they produced a splendid result which is aesthetically pleasing and greatly enhances the beauty of the Sanctuary

The Lectern:

This is the stand from which the Sacred Scriptures are read at every Mass. It usually has a 'frontal' bearing a sacred symbol or phrase from the Bible to remind us of its importance.

The Celebrant's Chair.

The principal 'chair' in the church is the Celebrant's, from which he directs the prayer of the assembled congregation. This is a little to the left of the Altar facing the congregation.

The Credence Table:

A small table near the Altar on which is placed the bread and wine before it is taken to the Altar to be Consecrated during the Mass.

Sanctuary Lamp:

This lamp, in the Sanctuary, is always kept alight to indicate the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle.

Baptismal Font:

A movable stand, containing a bowl in which the water of Baptism is blessed for the administration of the Sacrament.

The Paschal Candle:

Each year at the Easter Vigil, which is the main Easter Ceremony, a large candle is lit to represent the Risen Christ. A design or symbol, together with the figures denoting the year, is seen on this candle. The symbol may be the Alpha and Omega which signifies God without beginning or end. A light from this candle is then passed to each member of the congregation who holds a small candle and all stand while a glorious hymn of praise is sung in honour of Christ, risen from the dead. Up to the feast of the Ascension the Paschal Candle is lit during all Masses to represent the presence of the Risen Christ. Throughout the year it is lit for Baptismal Ceremonies to indicate that the person is being given new, spiritual life in Jesus. It is also lit for Funeral Services to remind us that through death we enter into new, resurrected life in Jesus

Consecration Crosses

You can see a number of small marble plaques, each marked with a cross, placed on the walls around the church. These indicate the points at which the walls are 'anointed' with a holy oil called Chrism when the church is consecrated by the Bishop to the glory of God.

The Foundation Stone

This is on the wall of the sanctuary to the left of the altar. It is a marble plaque with an inscription in Latin which means:

To the greater glory of God and in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the ancient and venerable city of Lincoln, this stone was laid by Edward, Bishop of Nottingham on the 19th. day of September, A.D. 1963, in the reign of Pope Paul VI.

The Nave of the church

Stations of the Cross

On the walls you can see a series of 14 images depicting the sufferings of Jesus as he was led to be crucified on Calvary These are called Stations of the Cross and are there to help people who like to meditate and pray privately in union with Jesus in his sufferIngs During the season of Lent, public 'Stations of the Cross' are held a few times each week This form of prayer in preparation for Holy Week and Easter has been popular for many centuries

Lady Chapel

 To the right of the sanctuary is a small chapel dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. There is a lovely statue of Our Lady holding the Infant Jesus in an attitude of offering him to the world

In this chapel there is a stand with small blue votive candles (prayer candles) which people like to light and leave burning as a sign of continued prayer for special intentions.

On the front of the altar there is a design showing a circle of 12 small stars, - enfolding a large star with the letters MR for Maria Regina (Latin for Mary, Queen) In the last Book of the Bible there is a reference to A Woman, clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, and around her head a crown of 12 stars. (Revelation 12: 1.)

On the plinth is depicted a small image of the Arms of Lincoln, i.e. a red fleur de Lys on a silver cross, reminding us that for many centuries Lincoln has been dedicated to Our Lady.

Statue of Jesus.

To the left of the Sanctuary is a lovely statue of Jesus showing his heart as a reminder of his great love for us, and with arms outstretched in an attitude of welcome to the whole world. A stand with red votive candles is placed in front of this statue.

Two other small statues can be seen on the right hand side of the church. One, near the entrance of the Lady Chapel is of Saint Anthony of Padua, a young Franciscan monk of the 13th. Century who was known for his fervour, learning and eloquence. He was a friend and follower of St. Francis of Assisi, He is represented holding the Child Jesus standing on a book.

The second statue represents St. Therese of Lisieux, a young French Carmelite Nun who died at the age of 24. After her death numerous miracles granted through her intercession made her one of the best known and most popular saints throughout the world. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, made known her 'Little Way' of spirituality which ordinary people felt they could follow in their everyday lives. She saw the power of love which can change everything, including weakness and illness, into service and redemptive power for others.

Stained Glass windows

The beauty of our church is greatly enhanced by three magnificent stained glass windows, each with a predominant colour and containing a number of symbolic images and sacred monograms.

The back window, facing the Altar, is mainly in shades of green, representing God the Father and his work of Creation. The three Images are

1. A Hand upraised in an act of blessing on all his Creation "God saw that all that he had made was very Good" (Genesis 1: 25)

2. A Triquetra -consisting of a three-cornered figure of interlaced loops - an early symbol of the Holy Trinity (Three Persons in One God)

3. An Open Book indicating the Scriptures, with the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, signifying that God is the beginning and end of all things

On the left-hand side of the church is a window dedicated to Jesus our Saviour.

The predominant colour is red, which signifies the love in the heart of Jesus for all mankind. The three symbols in this window are:

1. A Cross of deep red against a gold/white disc which may represent the splendour of the sun or the white circle of the Eucharist.

2. A Golden Chalice surmounted by the Bread of the Eucharist, shown against the outline of a cross. Golden rays emanate from the chalice which is used to contain the wine of the Eucharist.

3. A Chi Rho. This is a monogram of the first two letters of the Greek Word for Christ

On the right-hand side of the church is a window dedicated to Our Lady.
The predominant colour is blue, which is traditionally used in depictions of Mary, the Mother of God. The three designs in this window are:

1. A Star shining over the waves of the ocean.
In ancient hymns and other writings Mary is often referred to as Star of the Sea, the one who guides the weary traveller in in the perilous journey of life.

2. The Letter M for Maria, or Mary.

3. The Fleur de Lys, a traditional symbol for Our Lady. This same emblem, which stands for purity of life and holiness, is also found in the Lincoln Coat of Arms.

The Reconciliation Room

To the left of the Sanctuary there is a small room known as a 'confessional' or 'reconciliation room'. At stated times in the week the priest makes himself available for anyone wishing to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or needing to consult him on any matters of conscience This room is arranged So that those who wish to make their confession may sit face to face with the priest or, if they prefer to be anonymous, they may kneel at a curtained screen which divides the reconciliation room.

The Organ.

A large, beautiful organ is on the left hand side of the church. For many centuries organ music has been used for worship in the Church. However, for some Services, other instruments are occasionally used such as guitars, recorders, violins, etc. Music and singing form a very important part of Christian prayer and worship.

Baptismal Font.

Inside the main doors there is a fixed Baptismal Font at a step lower than the floor of the nave. In times past there was great emphasis on the Sacrament of Baptism being the entrance into the Church and St. Paul speaks in his writings of 'going down into the waters of Baptism and rising again to new life'.

Entrance Porch

Just inside the outer door of the church you will find a niche in the wall holding a container of Holy Water. This water has been blessed by the priest and it is used by Catholics to make the sign of the Cross as they enter the church, asking God to purify them as they enter into 'his house.'

Repository Stall

In the church porch there is a repository of religious items -pictures, rosaries, prayer books, crucifixes, greeting cards etc. which parishioners like to buy as required. This stall is looked after by some of the ladies of the parish.

Book Stall

On the wall in the church porch there is a selection of devotional booklets which may be bought by parishioners.

Notice Boards

There are two large notice boards in the church porch giving information on activities and coming events in the parish or in the diocese.

Attached to the church is an attractive 'parish centre' consisting of a spacious hall, a lounge and bar, kitchen, cloakrooms etc. This serves the parish as a place to meet for entertainment such as dances and concerts, wedding receptions or birthday parties. Dancing classes and other activities, such as meetings of various parish groups also take place here.

The cleaning of the 'church, the flower arrangements, the care of altar linen and vestments are mainly undertaken, on a weekly basis, by a group known as 'The Altar Society'