If you’re feeling a bit stir crazy these days and need a walk, a mission, there’s a new labyrinth at St. Patrick’s Church (2702 Broadway E.) to go check out.
The church installed the labyrinth last summer on its grounds across the street from Roanoke Park. “We wanted to do something welcoming to everyone,” said JoAn Choi who led the project.
Originally, she said, they were thinking of some sort of outdoor prayer space and decided a labyrinth would work best. The labyrinth is small, as labyrinths go, to fit the outdoor space (about 17 feet in diameter). Tall trees stand sentry. Its entrance abuts the sidewalk encouraging passers-by to step in, and a plaque invites you to “take a walk to the center, pause for a moment, and return refreshed.”
“The labyrinth is for calming and centering,” Choi said. “You walk in slowly, focusing inward, and begin to let go of what you’re struggling with; pause in the center; and then slowly walk back out integrating and moving back into the world.”
The project took a couple of years from start to finish, and it’s still not fully complete. The church’s volunteer maintenance crew, known as “St. Pat’s Posse,” who maintains the church’s three facilities, installed the labyrinth. Mike Wagner who leads the crew said they hired Casa Latina to do the prep work on the site and then the posse spread the sand and laid the pavers.
Like so many construction projects, “it was more difficult than they expected,” said Choi.
But it turned out beautifully. Still to come are curbs around the labyrinth that will form planters for a boxwood hedge that should grow to be about two feet tall.
“It’s a great way to use the church grounds for meditation,” said Choi. “And it doesn’t have a Christian history only.”
Labyrinths, ancient and mysterious, can be found across religions and cultures. They’re a symbol of life’s voyage of twists and turns, used for contemplation and healing.
“We hope the neighborhood enjoys the labyrinth,” said Wagner adding that the church would appreciate seeing it being used by everyone.
“We’re a parish that wants to be open and welcoming,” added Choi.