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St. Cecilia's Parish: A Spiritual Home For Many

Reflections on Home | Projects

  •     A considerable component that draws an individual to a place of worship is the connection between the parishioner and the chosen church. For Father John Unni, Pastor of St. Cecilia’s Parish in Boston, Massachusetts, the case is far different from the norm. St. Cecilia’s Parish is experiencing a huge resurgence in parishioners. The Pastoral Associate, Mark Donahoe, confidently says, “The fact is that we need more space because we are growing.” As long as Christ is worshipped in a church, there will be feelings towards aspects of that church that do not directly regard faith. It is in these aspects, especially ones that mirror home, that St. Cecilia additionally thrives. It is the strength of these components of the church that make it what it is today.

        In this project, students were challenged to create picture portfolios that told a story of a home away from home. additionally, this meant finding an alternative form of the home aspect in something else. This can be found in no better place than church, as it serves as a spiritual home. One way it does this is by its inclusivity and message of peace between all people. Stress exists in everyone's life and too often, that stress can become attached to work, family, and home. It is important that people have a place to go to heal, a place that is just as comfortable and welcoming as home.

    All quotes are taken from an interview with Pastoral Associate, Mark Donohoe





  •     The process began with each group finding a specific home they wanted to photogragh. For many this meant going to their grandparents' house. I decided to go a different route by going to my church. This launched my idea of reporting on what made a spiritual home. I knew that in order to do this, I would have to interview a staff member of the church. Thus, I scheduled a time to meet with pastoral associate, Mark Donohoe, so I could address the idea of the future church. As I prepared for the interview, a few thoughts went through my mind: integrating technology in church, making church more mobile friendly, and preserving tradition amongst changing times.

        In my interview with Mr. Donahoe, a clear theme appeared: a church can change and improve with the times as long as Canon Law and tradition are not hindered. It wasn't long before I realized that the church didn't have much room for progressive technology beyond what was already there. This included the elevator, handicap accessible entrances, and video stream capaibilities when there wasn't enough room for everyone in the main room.

        During the entire process, I was fortunate to use a a great camera, the Canon Rebel. Operating this camera was both a joy and a challenge. On one hand, it produced great looking photos, but it came with the price of knowing each and every parameter it had. For example, adjusting shutter speed for the right brightness was something that became more of a feeling versus a value. It was very challenging to balance natural light with shutter speed so, the more I practiced the better I got at judging it. Another challenge was within photoshop where the orginal photos were made into final products. The process of adjusting around one hundred different dials for each photo proved tedious and often frustrating when the best combination of the parameters could not be acheived. In the end, I created a set of photos I'm very proud of.