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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

There's A New Big House in Ann Arbor

While not intending to pile on after Michigan's loss in last night's Alamo Bowl, I could not resist offering this tidbit, which is yet another sign of positive change in Southeast Michigan.

Many readers of this blog have at least a passing familiarity with St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Thomas deidcated a new tabernacle, beautifully housed under a modest baldacchino. Those familiar with the prior layout will appreciate that Our Lord now resides at the center of the sanctuary. The detail both inside and out is exquisite and merits a stop on your next trip through town.

For reference, I'm including the portion of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that addresses some of the issues surrounding the design and placement of a tabernacle:
The Place for the Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist

314. In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.

The one tabernacle should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent, and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, it is appropriate that, before it is put into liturgical use, it be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.

315. It is more in keeping with the meaning of the sign that the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved not be on an altar on which Mass is celebrated.

Consequently, it is preferable that the tabernacle be located, according to the judgment of the Diocesan Bishop,

1. Either in the sanctuary, apart from the altar of celebration, in a form and place more appropriate, not excluding on an old altar no longer used for celebration (cf. above, no. 303);
2. Or even in some chapel suitable for the faithful's private adoration and prayer and which is organically connected to the church and readily visible to the Christian faithful.

316. In accordance with traditional custom, near the tabernacle a special lamp, fueled by oil or wax, should be kept alight to indicate and honor the presence of Christ.

317. In no way should all the other things prescribed by law concerning the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist be forgotten.

Original text and footnotes can be found here.

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