We experience this type of prayer during Holy Week at Saint Celestine Parish.
Anyone interested in borrowing our Rainbow Labyrinth for their church should contact Pastoral Center at 708-453-2555 for rental information.
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What is the Labyrinth?
The labyrinth is a simple walking path used to meditate or quiet the mind. It is a path of reflection, contemplation and clarity. Labyrinths come in many sizes and patterns, but a labyrinth has only one path, it is not a maze. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. The labyrinth is a wonderful tool for re-connecting the mind, body and spirit. For some, it allows self-realizations that provide peace, healing and comfort.
The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. Labyrinth designs were found on pottery, tablets and tiles date as far back as 4000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals from nature. In Native American culture it is called the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described it as the Never Ending Circle. It is also called the Kabala in mystical Judaism. One feature they all share is that they have one path which winds in a circuitous way to the center.
Early in Church history going on“the Way” or, later, on a“pilgrimage” to places such as Guadalupe, Czestochowa and Compostella were seen as a prayer discipline. Processionals as prayer arose from the same understanding. During the Middle Ages when the Crusades closed the route of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, two forms of walking meditation surfaced: the “Stations of the Cross” and the labyrinth. Perhaps the best known labyrinth in this tradition is the one on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France, this is the one our St. Celestine Labyrinth is based upon.
Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage meditation, insight and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural tool of well-being. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks and retreat centers as well as in people’s backyards.
The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally. Generally there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning; that is, taking back out into the world that which you have received. There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need.
What does Labyrinth Walking involve?
One walks a labyrinth into the center and then out of the center on the same path. Walk the labyrinth with an open mind and an open heart. Take a moment before entering to pause and clear your mind. Become aware of your breath. Enter the labyrinth allowing your body to set its own pace. You may “pass” people or let others step around you whichever is easiest at the turns. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. Do what feels natural.
There are three phases to the labyrinth walk:
- Entering: Release and let go of the details of your life. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions. It quiets and empties the mind.
- Illumination: Also called “communion” this is when you have reached the center. This is a place of meditation. Pause and receive what is there for you.
- Exiting / re-integration: Walk out the same path you entered. Integrate and connect your thoughts.
Tips for the Labyrinth Walk
- If others are using the labyrinth, please refrain from talking.
- There are handouts available for your use.
- Please walk the labyrinth in your stocking feet.
- It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk the path.
- Walk at your own pace.
- If multiple people are using the labyrinth, please wait until the person in front of you has rounded the third turn (near the center) before you begin walking the path.
- You may pass another person. The best place to pass is at a corner turn. If you meet someone coming the opposite direction, making eye contact with the other person is a good way to give/obtain permission to pass.
- Before you leave, stop by the table, and:
- Cross off the next number on the sheet. We would like to keep track of the approximate number of those who walked the labyrinth.
- Feel free to share your thoughts about your experience in our journal.
What has been proven?
The labyrinth often brings a participant relaxation and peace. It can provide insights and improve one’s ability to cope with stress. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that it may lower blood pressure.
Labyrinth Candle Memoriam
Many of the candles that surround the actual labyrinth are from Church in memory of our beloved parishioners. The list below includes names of people who had a candle in memory of them and that candle beautifully burned till its end while in use at the St. Celestine Labyrinth. The Labyrinth Committee would like to keep the memory of these people here as a beautiful way to honor the use of the candle. As more candles are burned and retired each year at the labyrinth, more names may be added in the future.
Please Note: Candles are used randomly and not in any particular order.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” – John 11:25
In loving memory of…
Dal Cerro, Gino
Loverher, John LLewelyn
McGarry, Jr., Joseph
Reda, Sr., Frank
Spidel, Sr. Marie Philomena
White, Fr. Bernard C.