Inside the Church
Catholic Churches come in many different styles
and sizes. Some are centuries old with soaring
ceilings and lots of stained glass. Some have a
much more modern look and don’t resemble at
all the churches of old. As architectural styles have
changed, so have church buildings. But all Catholic
churches share some common elements.
Many churches have a narthex. This is the entry
area, like a foyer. Often the priest will greet parishioners
after Mass in the narthex. From the narthex
you enter the main worship space, which consists of
the nave and the sanctuary.
The nave is the main body of the church. This is
where the people attending Mass sit, stand and
kneel. The word nave comes from the Latin word
for ship. Early churches often resembled a ship,
reminiscent of St. Peter’s boat from which Christ
sometimes taught. The sanctuary is the other part
of the church, where the altar is. The word itself
means “holy place,” and this is where most of the
rites of the Mass take place.
Some people prefer one style of church over
another. The important thing to remember is that
no matter what the building looks like, Jesus is
present a every Mass.