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Renovation Notes - PART 3

STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Many cathedrals and parish churches have one or many devotional places. These are generally places to aid personal private prayer and piety as distinct from public worship. The Reservation Chapel, Marian images, shrines dedicated to particular saints are examples. Some of the most familiar to today's Christian are the Stations of the Cross. Visiting places associated with Christ's suffering and death are practices both understandable and old. However, the "stations" as we know them developed only in the 12th century. This was also the time of the Crusades. They were probably more than an indirect cause of the development of the stations. Those who could not go physically to Jerusalem could be pilgrims in some fashion.

For many years there was considerable variety in both number and title of these "stations." The current number of 14 first appeared in the Low Countries in the 16th century. By the 18th century this had become the standard number with the best known place for them being the Colosseum in Rome. Modern attention and awareness of the centrality of the Resurrection of Christ to the Christian faith has today often added a 15th station commemorating the victory of Christ over suffering and death. Another development can be seen in the actions of Pope John Paul II who several years ago returned to the Colosseum and changed both the title and numbering again. He eliminated some of the 14 stations that were based more on legend and piety (such as Veronica's veil) and added stations that are clearly based in Scripture.

MARIAN IMAGE
In a cathedral bearing her name there should be a prominent image of Mary, Mother of Christ. Since the 1955 mosaic image will disappear in the renovation process, where and what will this image be? One suggestion is a stained glass rose window in the south wall. Another is a shrine within the overall space. And there are others.

A number of images of Mary appear in the present stained glass windows. The south-easternmost window is a major Marian statement. There is a recent small framed print of the Lady of Guadalupe icon in the northwest "side altar" chapel space.

It has also been suggested that since Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared "Empress of the Americas" the icon in our cathedral recognize Mary under that title. A window? A statue? If a statue should it be in the major devotional shrine planned in the area in the east front?

The Marian Sculpture, “Mother of the Universe” – Mary is portrayed in our Cathedral, not as the young, blonde virgin of European art, but as a mature, multi-racial woman, a universal mother figure with big strong working woman hands that reach out to help and point to the Christ. The spiral in her womb symbolizes Christ the Incarnate Word, “through whom the universe was made,” as stated in St. John’s Gospel Prologue. (We also know from modern physics that the spiral is a basic energy pattern of the universe, from the great spiral nebulae, down to our own DNA.)

“Mother of the Universe” is a 3-dimensional piece with 3 panels: the split back panels portray the mandala, or glory rays around her reminiscent of the Guadalupe mandala; her image is then laser-etched on the back of the front panel. The stars painted on the walls and ceiling and in her cloak represent the constellations of our universe as we see them in December, when we celebrate the Incarnation of the Word at Christmas (also the Immaculate Conception). The artist is Claire M. Wing, nationally known liturgical glass artist.

BELLS

Though often arresting and beautiful in sound, church bells began as a very practical item in a church or cathedral building. They called people to worship before clocks became common (4th to 5th centuries) It was not long before the increased size and number of bells required a campanile (or bell tower.) Bells rang out the times for morning and evening prayers, they announced the times for Mass and Divine Office and marked special events like coronations, ordinations, processions and any number of great events. They tolled to mark deaths and funerals. And they alerted to danger from fire and storm.

True bells became so sacred that they were "baptized and anointed" and given names of saints. They were considered to be sacramentals. True bells are still "baptized" and incensed in blessing. Formerly, in a consecrated church, bells were anointed with holy oil. (This rite of anointing with oil does not appear in the new (1989) Book of Blessings from the Roman Ritual. However, given the age of the bells in the Cathedral one would assume that these bells were probably anointed.)

Our records show that the Cathedral bells were first rung on December 8, 1895. They were the gift of Bernard Corrigan. Each bell was "baptized" and named: St. Thomas (the largest), St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, St. John, St. Mary, St. Monica, St. Edward, St. Helen, St. Ann, St. Bernard. The identity of the saint of the eleventh bell is not yet confirmed although it can be seen to have been named after a male saint (evident from the "Sancte {not Sancta}...ora pro nobis" inscription on the bell.)

Properly bells are not said to ring but to "speak." Our own bells have a bad case of laryngitis. And we had become so accustomed to the sound we did not even know they were sick. In the process of seeking estimates from various bell companies we were startled when one of them rang one of the bells by hand. The sound was astonishing. It was clear, clean, resonant and ringing -and totally different. The problem is not the bells but the "strikers" (outside) or "clappers" (inside.) Last partially tended in the 1950's they are now badly deteriorated. To refurbish the strikers or clappers will cost around fifty thousand dollars.

RESERVATION CHAPEL
Besides necessary items of furniture there are certain permanent "places" or "stations" to which one must physically go within the cathedral or church. These locations also must be considered in their relationship to worship. One of these is the Chapel of Reservation. It used to be common to speak simply of "the tabernacle" but that is no longer sufficient. Official documents speak to a distinct and ennobled place in the church for the reservation of the consecrated Eucharistic bread. It should be "prominent, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suited for prayer." But not the "main altar."

The practice of reserving the Eucharist is very old, evident as early as the second century. This was to provide communion for those who were sick and unable to join the community at the Lord's table. This was the only reason for such reservation. During the Middle Ages receiving communion declined and devotion to the reserved Eucharist grew until the receptacle (tabernacle) found its way to the altar. Now reception of communion consecrated at each Mass has been restored. The priest again faces the people rather than the back wall. So, a proper repository for the Sacrament must be found. It is to be both a safe place for reservation and a place for devotional prayer. It should not be one of the former "side altars."

THE PRESIDER'S CHAIR
As parishes developed in the fourth century, Eucharistic celebrations not directly involving the bishop came into being. The "bishop's chair" (cathedra) remained in what became the cathedral. But some proper place for the priest in local situations needed to be found. His chair at the table should not signify privilege but rather a sense of presence and loving leadership in prayer as well as a place where he might communicate with the people and with them listen to the Word. It could also be a place for teaching. It is a place where he is clearly present to initiate and conclude the Eucharistic action as the one presiding as priest of the celebration.

Therefore the chair should be evident and dignified. Good furnishing would require that this piece of sanctuary furniture be in harmony with the altar and ambo.

 

Cathedral Psalm of Renovation
by Edward Hayes

O Risen Christ, You who said,
“Behold,I make all things new,”

Bless the renovation of our Cathedral, the Heart Church of our Diocese.
O Holy Carpenter, laborer son of Joseph, who created an unending New Covenant, consecrate our work of renewing our Cathedral.

O Immaculate Mother of God, our patroness, as you often mended with love those things old and tattered, we ask you now to weave your blessing of loving care over all the workers and patrons of this holy work of renewal, so that by it we may mirror you and joyfully magnify our Savior God.

O Holy Spirit of Creativity, inspire us to see in this renewal of our Diocesan Heart Church a sacramental image of your desire that we ceaselessly renovate our hearts.

As God’s holy, priestly people, make us tireless laborers of justice and love in a prayerful, perpetual reform of the Global Church.

 

CATHEDRAL RENOVATION NOTES PART 1

CATHEDRAL RENOVATION NOTES PART 2

CLICK HERE for Cathedral Renovation Pictures

BISHOP BOLAND'S HOMILY AT THE REDEDICATION

HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL

CATHEDRAL HOMEPAGE

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