Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Changes, of a liturgical type

At the beginning of the last academic year (so in September of 2006), one of the first events of the year was the reception and installation of a reliquary with a hair of Mother Teresa's. About a year ago this time, we received a new statue in our chapel - that of Our Lady of Confidence. About two and a half months ago this time, we received another statue in our chapel - that of St. Joseph. Why do I mention all of this?

Only to point to the fact that there is a continued process of updating and beautifying the chapel, as has been the long history of the Saint Paul Seminary. Between 15 and 20 years ago, there was a major renovation done to the chapel. Today, there continues to be minor renovations. The most recent was moving the tabernacle out of the small adoration chapel that it had remained in since the previous major renovation. I've included some of the pictures to show the process involved with the move.

We seminarians had heard quite some time ago that the tabernacle would be moved, but it was finally two weeks ago this Wednesday that the faculty made public the decision and explained it. The decision to explain it was much appreciated by all in the house. They explained how the Church's priests must have a devotion to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - as is evidenced in several of the church's documents (here's a handout given to us summarizing only some of these). One of the priests mentioned that according to Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (n. 69) and other Church documents, the most preferred location is not in the sanctuary but in a chapel for reservation and adoration.

So, the question then became, why are we moving the tabernacle? There is much misunderstanding and frustration in the Church today concerning this issue. Here at the seminary, there were a number of issues to be considered. However, one of the primary reasons for the move was simply that the chapel in which the tabernacle resided was not large enough to hold the not infrequent number of adorers at once. Hence, moving the tabernacle into the larger body of the chapel (and to a place of prominence therein, as outlined by the Pope in his document linked above) was the most reasonable decision. Rightly, the faculty discouraged us from thinking poorly of those who made the move in the first place - they were doing as the Church had desired of them by moving the tabernacle to a separate reservation/adoration chapel. Simply practically speaking, the change makes the liturgy and the movements therein far simpler and efficient.

So, take a gander. There she lay. Perhaps more appropriately, there He lay (though not sicut in loco, "as in a place," as our sacraments/liturgy professor would quickly point out).

One more thing. Sometimes, doing what is necessary for liturgy can be awkward. Here at SPS, to begin our Masses, the organist has had to peer to the back of the chapel and wait for an MC to wave his hand in the air. At non-Eucharistic liturgies, it was up to a few anxious seminarians to watch for the moment that the procession began and then lead the community in standing for the procession. Well, all of that is now gone because of this nice little bell pictured on the right. A simple ring of the bell informs everyone, all at once, that the liturgy is about to begin. Stand, be attentive! Strike up the instruments! Prepare yourselves to meet the Lord!

In Lent, what a beautiful message for us.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the blog. Great post.

Anonymous said...


Wonderful changes. Thank you for letting us know!

Anonymous said...


Bells are beautiful. They remind me of heaven.

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