This morning I positioned a new tabernacle on the High Altar. It needs a jolly good polish in the coming days to bring it up to the colour of the candlesticks. It also requires, in the fullness of time and when we can afford it,veils in the appropriate liturgical colours. But for now it is enough that it is there. For having created permanent space for worship at Saint Anselm’s it was absolutely essential that -as soon as possible- we placed Jesus Christ at the heart of our church and in the most visible location.
If you click on the images you will see greater detail. The tabernacle doors are adorned with the letters Alpha and Omega and on top of the tabernacle sits a fine little Pelican with her babes. The Pelican is an ancient symbol of the Eucharist given that Pelicans have been known to feed their young by drawing blood from their own breast.
Situating the tabernacle on the High Altar necessitates a few small changes. Firstly to the current tabernacle in the side chapel. The sanctuary lamp will be taken down from there this week and a new one placed in the main body of the church. After that the old tabernacle will become an Ambry! Which is to say it will remain to house the holy oils for use throughout the year. A special notice explaining this new use -as well as what the oils are for- will be placed in the chapel tomorrow alongside the Ambry.
Secondly the location of a tabernacle on the High Altar means that all services from the high altar must now, by necessity, be celebrated Ad Orientem- that is with the priest facing East. This will bring a small change to the 11am Mass only. To retain balance weekday Mass in the side chapel will still be celebrated Westward facing according to the Benedictine arrangement.
Another step on the path to our development then as a functioning parish with use of both a church and a hall. It is going to take time for us to settle into the new space- and much needs doing. But bit by bit the transformation is occurring. My thanks for all the support and help from parishioners. It was so lovely to see so many smiles as people came to church last Sunday. These are exciting days!