11 October 2006

The Tabernacle Should be Front and Centre

I haven't decided whether I prefer the TLM or the NO. I am slowly becoming aware that I haven't seen the NO celebrated properly more than once, and as for the TLM, I only experienced it once. But I do think, even with the NO, the tablernacle should be front and centre, visible above the altar.

My pastor, when he arrived did do alot of things of which I approved. One was he took the original side altars and put them back to the front flanking the Original Altar. Our Lady's altar, on the left, has a "tabernacle" which is used as a reliquary. ( I'm not sure whose relics exactly)
St. Joseph's altar, on the right, has a "tabernacle" which houses the Sacred Oils and Chrisms. Considering that only one altar is to be used for Masses and only one Tabernacle is to be used for the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, these new uses for the "altar" and "tabernacles" I personally like.

But the Tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament, which had been shunted off to an alcove in the left transept, was left there. I once asked Father why he didn't put the Tabernacle back in the Old Altar.

His answer, "I don't feel comfortable having my back to the Lord during Mass." I, naively, accepted this as making perfect sense.

Except that I later found out that the NO mass can be celebrated with the celebrant seated to the side during the readings, and the Eucharistic Prayer can be recited facing the tabernacle, and turning around to the people when "cuing" the congregation for their response. In fact in this fashion the Mass once again becomes an offering made by the people at the hands of the priest, not a "show" to watch.

The way the church is set up the Tabernacle isnot even visible from the main altar, as the Main altar is actually behind the transepts. Also most people don'trealise that one genuflects to the tabernacle, not the altar. When our parents were young they genuflected facing the altar, because that is where the Blessed Sacrament was, now people still genuflect to the altar and ignore the tabernacle. {I wonder, then, what these people are thinking when they see the Procession turn and genuflect facing left.}

This is so sad. I was up in the Choir Loft of my church collecting my husband who is the one of two male singers, and as we were leaving I told my girls to genuflect. My three year old faced the wrong way and I corrected her. "Oh right." she said, got up and facing the tabernacle genuflected again. The other male singer in the choir, turned to me and said, "I never knew that. I only found that out a few days ago. My mother always genuflected towards the altar." I responded, "That's because your mother grew up with the tabernacle on the altar. It was the tabernacle she was reverencing not the altar."

The sad thing was that he found out because an Anglican told him. It's sad when protestants understand more about Catholicism than born and raised Catholics.

So I guess all I really want to let people know is that when you genuflect in church you should face the Lord in the Tabernacle.

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