St. Ann Catholic Church has begun work on the construction of a courtyard prayer labyrinth at the entrance to the church, located at at 6529 Stage Road in Bartlett. The 51-foot diameter concrete labyrinth is being constructed by Integrity Landscaping & Design of Cordova.
The prayer labyrinth is an ancient form of meditative prayer used in the time of the early church. By the use of a maze-like etching in the floor of the patio structure, the prayer participant can wander along the path of the maze, circling in, out and around the circle until eventually reaching the center of the circle itself. In prayer and meditation, the person will then return through the maze, until reaching the original point of entry.
The labyrinth was the vision of longtime parishioner, Med Malic as he searched for a way to pray while battling inoperable stage IV pancreatic cancer.
His family took him to Houston for chemotherapy treatments, and it was there that the family first discovered a labyrinth, modeled after the one inside the Chartres Cathedral in France.
Praying at this labyrinth reminded Malic of a vision he had years earlier when his son Andrew was looking for an Eagle Scout project. At the time, logistics and time did not allow for this project. But while battling cancer, he became more determined to make this vision happen.
After a long walk through the labyrinth, he was inspired to design his own labyrinth at St. Ann, his home parish.
Back home in Memphis, he walked the grounds of St. Ann and worked on plans to see his vision through. During a visit from Father Russ Harbaugh, head pastor at St. Ann, Malic mentioned the project. Harbaugh told him that he would make sure the project occurred.
Malic wanted this labyrinth not to be about him, but to be for St. Ann, his parish and the greater community. He had hoped he would live long enough to see his vision completed, but he died on Sep. 13.
His vision is now coming to life, and the plans are to have the dedication before Easter 2015.