Pastoral Thought

9-9-18

  

We have a new piece of sacred furnishing in our worship space. In the little alcove-shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, the plywood mini-altar has been replaced by a specially designed oak structure which holds the tabernacle firmly in place. It gives a simple dignity, and greater security to the tabernacle. I thank the Environment Committee for planning and executing this.

 

The tabernacle contains, for 364 days a year, the consecrated host, the Real Presence of Jesus under the appearance of bread. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and prayerful visits before the tabernacle are a central Catholic practice. The ordinary sign of reverence near the tabernacle is the genuflection—kneeling on one knee.

 

Our church’s design is centered on the main altar because the Eucharist, i.e., the Mass is our supreme act of Worship of God, where we are fed by God’s Word, and when we join in eating and drinking of the Lord’s bodily self. During Mass we take a brief pause after Holy Communion to unite our innermost sentiments with Him. 

 

But it is important that we spend private time with Jesus apart from the public worship at Mass, so that we internalize the Eucharist we have received. We shift our focus from the holy Banquet, at the main altar, to the Eucharistic shrine where the tabernacle is. Having these two distinct spaces enables us to enter into these two distinct moments—active participation in the Mass and private devotion before the tabernacle.

 

I am grateful for this further element of beauty in our worship, and it will be blessed today at the 8AM Mass.

Father John Hynes