This weekend we dedicate our new, permanent tabernacle; a worthy home for the Blessed Sacrament. The tabernacle is a gift from St. Pius X Parish to St. Juan Diego Catholic Church. They raised $5000 to provide for it, and we are very grateful. It was designed and executed by master craftsman Gary Rogowski (www.northwestwoodworking.com).
During the Catholic Mass there are three primary foci: The altar (where Christ becomes present in the bread and wine), the ambo (where the Word of God is proclaimed, making Christ present), and the presider’s chair (where Christ is present in the role of the presider). All are easily visible from the pews (where Christ is present in the assembly, i.e. they are the Body of Christ). The two-fold purpose of the tabernacle, which holds the remaining hosts from the Mass, are (1) to have the Eucharist available to take to the sick and homebound, and (2) for adoration and prayer.
Our church is designed so that when one enters the sanctuary the baptismal font (through which we enter the Church) and the altar/table (where we are nourished) are lined up with the Tabernacle (where Christ is truly present). Then, after one genuflects toward the tabernacle and sits in the pew, the altar becomes the focus of attention because the pews centered on the altar.
At Mass the ministers (priest, deacon, lectors and servers) genuflect toward the tabernacle upon entrance and while departing. Then, during the liturgy, the altar becomes our focus where Christ is soon to be made present. Therefore, during the liturgy we bow to the altar when we pass by. There are exceptions: the Eucharistic minister genuflects to the tabernacle during Mass when retrieving the hosts before the Communion Rite and, again, genuflects after placing the remaining hosts in the tabernacle after communion. Additionally, those carrying items like candles, cross or the book of the gospels do not genuflect or bow, but simply pause as others genuflect. And lastly, if one has bad knees, a bow can suffice in lieu of genuflecting. It is best either to genuflect or bow, rather than do a kind of partial bow/genuflection hybrid.
Eventually, we will have designs for a presider’s chair and ambo for which we already have donors. As you know, Mr. Rogowski also designed and built the Easter Candle stand, which was donated by Roger Mach’s family, and designed the altar, which was donated and built by our contractor, Mike Grant.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. John Kerns