Our renovation is now moving into a new phase. All of the old stone has been removed from the front of the church and the rectory, and replaced with new stone. That is why the scaffolding in front of the church is gone. Now the workers are building the new lobby and bathrooms that will occupy the space between the church and the rectory. It is really happening.
Another part of the construction is the remodeling of the front half of the first floor of the rectory, where the nursery is. The nursery will be back, with a new bathroom and a new emergency exit onto the courtyard. The rest of that floor, where the old offices of the parish were years ago, is being remodeled to be meeting room space. We can certainly use more meeting rooms! It could serve as a bride’s room for weddings, a place for the family to gather prior to a funeral, as a location for children’s Liturgy of the Word, for adult education gatherings, and as a meeting space for committees and small groups. We will have no problem finding many uses for it.
But how to designate this new space? It needs a name. Instead of saying let’s meet in the first floor of the rectory, we should give this space a name. We already have Paulist Hall, Hecker Hall, Our Lady of Guadalupe Room, St. Augustine Room, Sts. Joan and Raymond Room and so on. In this manner we should also name this room next to the nursery.
I have several suggestions, in keeping with the overall Paulist theme in names. St. Barnabas Room. An early disciple, the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check on the church in Antioch, which was the first to admit Gentiles into Christianity. Barnabas, from Cyprus, is described as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” (Acts 11: 28). It was Barnabas who got St. Paul involved in missionary work. He was a faithful companion of St. Paul on several of Paul’s missionary journeys. So he would be a good choice for naming the room.
Another option would be St. Phoebe Room. She too was a companion and helper to St. Paul. In Romans 16:1 St. Paul commends her to the Romans and refers to her as a deacon. Paul comments “she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well,” so she is a good patron for donors.
Sts Priscilla and Aquila were sort of an advance team for St. Paul. He met this wife and husband in Corinth (Acts 18:2). They had been in Rome but the Emperor Claudius had expelled all Jews from Rome. They became very close to St. Paul and accompanied him on his missionary journey to Ephesus. Later they became an advance team preparing the way for St. Paul in Rome, where they were known. In Romans 16:3 St. Paul wrote: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” I think they should be better known, and it would be interesting to have a room in the rectory named after a married couple.
Another possibility, especially since this room will be adjacent to the nursery, is to name it after the Holy Family. You can’t go wrong with that.
I invite all those who have participated in the renovation effort to express your preference to a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. You can find the PPC members at church wearing their blue PPC name tags. Or you can email your thoughts to the PPC at email@example.com. The Parish Council will consider your input and early next year choose a name for this renewed room.