I went to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Harrisonburg, VA a few times last year. Located on the corner of Main Street and Wolfe Street, I heard of Blessed Sacrament when I was searching for a church where they conducted services in a non-English language for a college class I was taking in 2008. I went to the Spanish mass in the summer of 2008. Although, my Spanish was rusty I was able to complete the assignment and pass the college class. However, I wanted to have a better understanding of what went on during mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, so I started attending English speaking mass services for a couple of months. Not being raised as a Catholic, I found the experience enlightening and interesting.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Décor
The church is clean and the sanctuary is large. However, the sanctuary doesn’t seem big enough. Blessed Sacrament in Harrisonburg has a very large congregation on Sunday mornings. Apparently, so big that the church was talking about expanding in 2009.
When you walk in sanctuary, there is a holy water well to the left. A massive crucifix hangs above the pulpit. The pews are wood with red seats. The backs of the pews have the usual book holders for hymn books and other service oriented materials. Also, the backs of the pews fold out at the bottom, revealing kneeling benches.
Parking is available at the far end of the Food Co-op lot across the street. Plus, free parking is available on both levels of the municipal parking deck.
Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia
Confession is on Saturdays 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment. Weekday mass is held on Tuesday’s at noon, Wednesdays at 6 p.m. followed by Holy Hour until 7:30, and Thursdays & Fridays at noon. Weekend mass are on the first Saturdays at 9 a.m., every Saturday at 5 p.m., and every Sunday at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and 1 p.m. Spanish mass.
This parish has many members who attend weekend mass. Weekday masses usually have a smaller crowd. The parish has a large Latino/Mexican congregation who sometimes attends English mass. The rest of the congregation is Caucasian. There are only two or three African-Americans in the congregation.
The priests at Blessed Sacrament are practical and are not afraid to tackle real life issues outside or inside the church, when you can hear the sermon. At the time, the parish didn’t have a nursery, there were babies and toddlers babbling or crying pretty loudly. The priests don’t usually speak loud, so you will be straining to hear them over the commotion. Early 2010, I heard rumors they were trying to get someone who could run a nursery.
One of the best Catholic traditions is having worship services (mass) more than one day a week. I don’t know about other people, but I can use a church service on Wednesday and Friday evenings sometime. Another great tradition is having communion every service instead of once a month. I like the way Catholics humble themselves before God by always kneeling when they pray.
Bible Study at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia
During my stint at Blessed Sacrament, I took the liberty of attending a few bible study sessions in the basement. Blessed Sacrament conducted the bible study with members of a local Lutheran church. This particular bible study was like a Christian denomination partnership. During the two month bible study, attendees studied the stories of Cain & Abel, Moses, David, the Adulterous Woman (book of John), Saul/Paul, Crucifixion of Jesus, and a Lutheran article called, Jesus Remember Me. The bible study students and teachers were very friendly and welcoming.
Bottom Line Assessment of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
The church seems to be an appropriate place for worship and to partake in extra activities. The church also does a lot of charity work and invites members to take part in it.
Majority of African-Americans grew up in a predominantly black church, so if they were to attend Blessed Sacrament it might be a cultural shock for them. However, the congregation members don’t make them feel out of place, so the transition should be easy. The Latino/Mexican community seems to feel at home there. Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church practice traditional Catholic values, so conservatives will feel comfortable.
Hopefully, they have created a nursery for the babies and toddlers by now and perhaps a Sunday bible school for children under 13 years old. If teachings were constructed to the children’s learning level, they would benefit more from the lessons.