Encounter with Christ


To the Editor:
Father Mark Francis, CSV, in the November volume of “Worship” magazine in his article, “Pope Francis and the Continuing Validity of Vatican II’s Liturgical Reform” notes:  “…. In speaking about Christ’s presence, Pope Francis also focuses on the altar as a visible sign of the invisible Mystery of this presence and the point at which our attention should converge as members of the faithful. This altar around which the priest and the faithful gather is “dedicated, anointed with chrism, incensed, kissed, venerated.
“It is significant that the pope does not refer to the sacrament reserved in the tabernacle when describing Christ’s presence in the liturgical action — nor does he make it the focal point of the worship space. All this is very much in keeping with the insistence of the liturgical movement that it is the liturgical action of the priest and the assembly that celebrates Christ’s presence, that the reserved sacrament in the tabernacle, while worthy of adoration outside of Mass, is not an intrinsic part of the celebration.”
I find it a concern that in many of the interior remodels of diocesan churches that the placement of the tabernacle has not been in keeping with this eucharistic and liturgical understanding of the eucharistic and liturgical encounter with Christ that presents in the celebration of the Eucharist around the altar. When the tabernacle competes with the altar as the “focal point of the worship space” it serves to impoverish and not to enhance Christ’s presence within the celebration of the Eucharist, that is, within the Mass.
Father John Spiegel, pastor
St. Mary Parish, Oskaloosa; and St. Mary Parish, Pella

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