A focal point of the sanctuary of a Catholic Church is the tabernacle, a place reserved for the Eucharist which serves as a reminder of Christ’s presence that comes about in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The installation of a new tabernacle is an important moment for a Parish and was so at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral on Jan. 23, 2021. For the occasion, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass, during which he blessed the new tabernacle and a new monstrance.
“The tabernacle is the real center of what the Church building is and becomes, with the Real Presence of the Lord there outside of Mass,” Bishop Dewane explained. “It is appropriate, from time to time, to replace the tabernacle. Therefore, it is vital for all to recognize its significance as a dwelling place which the Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament, is reserved for worship.”
A tabernacle serves as a place to reserve those hosts that have been previously consecrated at Mass and therefore are now the true “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity” of Jesus. Any consecrated hosts that remain after Communion are then put in a ciborium and placed in the tabernacle and locked to ensure that no one can profane the Blessed Sacrament.
In addition to the blessing of the tabernacle, the Bishop also blessed the new monstrance, which is used on a display stand to present the Blessed Sacrament to the people during Eucharistic Adoration. Both items were made by artisans in Mexico and shipped to Cape Coral. The blessing was intended to take place in mid-2020, but the COVID-19 Pandemic cause delays in shipping.
St. Andrew Administrator, Father Eduardo Coll, thanked Bishop Dewane for his presence as part of this important blessing of the new tabernacle and monstrance.
“I also want to thank all of the people we had behind the replacement of the tabernacle,” Father Coll added. “It was one large donor and a chain of good hearts who came together in support of this change. These beautiful items are part of a dream that became a reality, placing a renewed focus on the Real Presence in our Church.”
The tabernacle is gold plated with silver inlay. It has an image of the Resurrected Christ on the front, angels on the side, and a symbol of the Holy Trinity on the reverse. The two-sided tabernacle is needed as the Church is designed with the main worship space on one side of a glass wall, and a Chapel on the other side. The tabernacle is at the center of the wall behind the main altar. This dividing wall displays frosted glass images of various saints. A custom glass partition will be installed soon to complete the work in the sanctuary.
The monstrance, which is 4 feet tall, is also gold plated, with silver inlay and stones on a radiated background. The monstrance is styled as the Blessed Mother holds the Blessed Sacrament evoking the reality of Mary as the first Tabernacle to carry Jesus. Father Coll explained that this image is based upon one shared with the people of Poland in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.
Since its installation, the faithful have taken the opportunity to take images of the new tabernacle.
Gina Barnes said the new tabernacle is beautiful. She noticed during the Mass how the sun came through a side window and glowed on the tabernacle, illuminating it is such a way that nearly brought her to tears.
“It is so wonderful,” Barnes said. “It is a true dwelling place worthy of Our Lord.”