Friday, October 19, 2007

The Holy of Holies



"The profound connection between beauty and the liturgy should make us attentive to every work of art placed at the service of the celebration. Certainly an important element of sacred art is church architecture, which should highlight the unity of the furnishings of the sanctuary, such as the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the ambo and the celebrant's chair." Sacramentum Caritatis: 41.


"In the consecrated species He is there and remains there. When a man experiences this with every fiber of his heart and mind and senses, the consequence is inescapable: 'We must make a proper place for this Presence.' .......the tabernacle is the complete fulfilment of what the Ark of the Covenant represented. It is the place of the 'Holy of Holies.' It is the tent of God, his throne. Here he is among us." Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 'The Spirit of the Liturgy'




We now have, through the generosity of one family in this parish, a setting for the tabernacle which encompasses the "unity of the furnishings" called for by the Synod Fathers in the Apsotolic Exhortation, 'Sacramentum Caritatis.' It is also a work of beauty, using materials from the church which had, thankfully, been stored in the cellar. Designed by myself and our wonderful carpenter, Ed Hahr, the brother of one of our young priests, Ed truly offered his services as a labour of love, working incredibly hard to restore damaged wood, hand carve various pieces, stain and paint. As our Bishop, Salvatore Matano said to me , "who could object to the Lord being the center of His church?" As we know, there was never a word in the documents of the Second Vatican Council about the removal of the tabernacle. It really should not be a polemical issue - especially now that we have clear direction both from our Holy Father and many, many bishops throughout the world. I truly believe that, if I do nothing else in whatever time I spend in this parish, the restoration of the "Holy of Holies" will be the most spiritually significant contribution I could make.

13 comments:

canon1753 said...

Looks really good. Ed did his usual fine job and you have good taste too.

God Bless! Is there going to be a reconsecration or anything like that scheduled?

Ave Maria said...

Father,
It looks so beautiful... I could weep. To see such an improvment in a parish i partly grew up in. Thank you! and Thank you to Ed as well!

Victoria said...

Father, do you have any before pictures?

tibotmorfenoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greatgable said...

Greeting from across the Atlantic.
It looks beautiful I must say - well done! and congratulations to all involved.

fr paul harrison

Victoria said...

Fr Jim Tucker posted a link to some proposed renovation pictures of the Sacred Heart Cathedral somewhere in the USA. Of course there was marble as far as the eye could see but when one entered the cathedral the eye was drawn to the huge presider's chair where the tabernacle used to be ( I imagine). The tabernacle was quite lovely with manna falling down on it but it was off to the side, not in the heart of the cathedral. Statues of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart were painted white and looked very insignificant. The most noticable construction in the building as far as I could make out was a baptismal font placed smack in the middle of the nave. The proposed renovation had a functional, minimalist air to it. One would not enter and gasp how beautiful was God's house and feel uplifted by it. Having said that the proposed renovation will not give the cathedral a big convention centre look.

I think your church says more loudly 'this is holy ground' than the cathedral.

the owl of the remove said...

Thank you, Victoria - I will try and find some "before" pictures - suffice it to say it was empty except for the Celebrant's chair - and two chairs for altar servers.

Fr John Boyle said...

Well done to you and your generous parishioners. The Lord will bless you all abundantly for this.

MomWithManyJobs said...

I agree, it is very beautiful and a wonderful reminder to each and every one of us who are blessed to walk through the doors at Mass, exactly why we are there.

Liz said...

In our parish the vestiges of the old high altar are still there (ie. the altar table itself is moved forward, but the rest of the structure is still there - complete with a now empty tabernacle). When I asked our priest why this was, he said that it would be rude to turn his back on Our Lord during the offering of Mass (and I assume rude to sit with his back to Him since his chair is right in front of the tabernacle). Of course the obvious solution to move the celebrants chair back to the side and offer Mass ad orientam doesn't seem to be in the immediate offing.

I love what you've done in your parish. Thank God for the wisdom of our bishop. May the Lord be returned to the center of every church in the diocese.

dealbame said...

Fr. Kiely,
Good for you for not wasting anytime in placing our Lord back where He belongs; in the heart of your church. May we all follow suit!

Shawn Machia said...

Oh wow, wow wow wow. That is PHENOMENAL, Fr. Ben, I don't know Ed, but thank him again and again! You will probably never read this particular entry, as its way back in the list now. I had a thought that I wanted to discuss with you, what is your e-mail (do you give it out?)

Christine said...

Oh, lovely.