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St. Aloysius again sponsors prayer labryinth

Warren County residents will have the opportunity to strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ.

The senior class at St. Aloysius High School is in the process of completing the design for a prayer labyrinth; a path of prayer that helps people better understand their faith and relationship with God.

The labyrinth will be open Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 7 to 8 p.m. on the football field at St. Aloysius and is free to the public. People can purchase a luminary to dedicate to the memory of a friend or loved one for $10.

Prayer labyrinths have existed in one form or another as far back as 3,500 years ago. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church put them in cathedrals to symbolize the path to God or ascension to salvation and enlightenment. Some labyrinths served as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for people unable to make the actual journey.

The senior classes have been doing the labyrinth since 2014, usually in the spring.

“The idea is that it represents our faith journey,” said teacher Joan Thornton. “That God, the center, never moves. We’re the ones who are making choices moving us closer and farther away from our relationship with God.

“It’s not a maze; you’re not making any decisions where to turn; you’re simply following the path. But as you walk through, you’ll feel you’re getting closer to the center and then you take four more steps and you’re further away than you could have conceived,” she said.

People start on outside the labyrinth and begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to be with them and guide them.

“Eventually, you take the path, you get to the center and you take time there with God in private prayer, and then, when you’re ready, you take Christ out into the world,” Thornton said.

“Everything on the perimeter of the labyrinth is symbolic of the whole world; of everyday life. So when you’re ready to take him out into your everyday life, you start traveling out the same way you went in.”

The path, she said, is lit by the luminaries, adding, “We try and put up bags that are in honor of or in memory of people on the outside.”

As people get closer to the center, Thornton said the luminaries are blank to give people an opportunity to understand “that it’s me and God. As we get to the center, we recognize it’s about me and my faith and our relationship with God, so we have our blank bags toward the center, where they are lit and have no writing on them.”

She said the seniors will begin laying out the shape of the labyrinth the Monday before the event. When the design is completed, teachers will take their students to pray on it. The luminaries will be placed the day of the event.

The luminaries are available from the school or any senior. For more information, call St. Aloysius at 601-636-2256.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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