(ACMPress) MOBILE – What started as a modest interest in decluttering for Fr. Jan A’ttoreal, the pastor of Sts. Flotsam and Jetsam parish outside Mobile, AL, quickly turned into a major overhaul of the church building.
He had the walls and roof completely removed.
“The Church encourages us to cultivate a spirit of detachment,” Fr. A’ttoreal told ACMPress, “and so I ‘detached’ the walls and roof. They didn’t spark any joy, which is one of Marie Kondo’s tenets: if it doesn’t spark joy, pitch it. And all those windows and beams and trusses? Way too much clutter.”
Marie Kondo is the leading expert on minimalism and decluttering, whose books and videos have inspired millions to simplify their lives.
Many of the parishioners arriving for Mass on Saturday afternoon were surprised to find just the altar, a crucifix, the pews, seven candles, the baptismal font, a set of bongos, and the crying room remaining from Fr A’ttoreal’s purging.
“At first I was shocked,” one woman said, “but I like the minimalism. There’s less distraction. All those stained windows and statues, they detracted from me concentrating on my feelings while at Mass.”
“It’s like being closer to nature,” a man told ACMPress. “And being close to nature is just like being close to God. It is, isn’t it?”
Fr. A’ttoreal explained that since cleanliness is close to Godliness, then having less of a church to clean is as close to heaven on earth anyone could hope to get. “I’m also storing the vestments in a dresser, using Marie’s vertical storing technique, rather than hanging them in the closet. They’re much happier, and a happier vestment makes for a happier Mass.”
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