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Devotional Shrine to the Holy Family: The Hidden Years!

The area in the Northwest corner of the Nave of church is often referred to generally, but not exclusively as "The Holy Family Shrine". We will build on the hidden life of Jesus and His parents through the Liturgical year by featuring a series of artworks that display various famous artists conceptions of those hidden years from the infancy to Jesus as a young man at the death of St. Joseph for November. They will change every month or two. For those with a special devotion to the Divine Child, a statue of the "Divino Niño" will be close when older views of Jesus are featured in the paintings.

The shrine will focus on three aspects of our devotional life:

  • St. Joseph
  • The Holy Family
  • The Divino Niño
Votive candles and kneelers will be part of the area to facilitate our prayers and meditations.

Some background on Votive candles.

In Judaism, a perpetual light was kept burning in the Temple and the synagogues not only to ensure the ability to light other candles or oil lamps in the evening, but also to show the presence of God, cf. Ex. 27:20-21 and Lv. 24:2-4. This practice probably influenced our own practices of having a lit candle near the Tabernacle to indicate the presence of and to show respect for the Blessed Sacrament.

For Christians, there is evidence that lit candles or oil lamps were burned at the tombs of saints, particularly martyrs, by the 200’s, and before sacred images and relics by the 300’s. St. Jerome (d. 420) attested to this practice, so it probably existed well before our available written records. We also remember that Christ is the Light of the World (Jn 8:12). Here, as in early Christian times, we light a candle before a statue of Our Lord, or a saint. Of course, we do not honor the statue itself, but whom that statue represents. The light signifies our prayer offered in faith coming into the light of God. We petition our Lord in prayer, or petition the saint to pray with us and for us to the Lord. The light also shows a special reverence and our desire to remain present to the Lord in prayer even though we may depart and go about our daily business. In all, the usage of votive candles is a pious practice which continues today in many churches. The symbolism does remind us that prayer is a "coming into" the light of Christ, allowing our souls to be filled with His light and letting that light burn on in our souls even though we may return to other activities.

Contact Information:
Immaculate Conception Church
316 E. Scioto
St. James, MO 65559
Office: (573) 265-7250

Rev. Gregory Meystrik

Associate Pastor:
Rev. Brendan Griffey

Deacon: Larry Clark

Prayer Chain:
Bernadette Welch 699-4474

Young at Heart:
Judy Bonham 699-4429

Knights of Columbus:
Patrick Prawitz 573-465-1033

Cemetery Association:
Bob Wilson 263-6222