Here is what parishioners saw upon entering our church. Many came 30 minutes early, wanting to get strategically placed seats, myself included. I needed quick getaway for my restless daughter as well as a good angle for photos. I saw Patrick Archbold on the other side of the altar, so I recommend his blog for another perspective. (I've just been to Creative Minority Report, and his photos are far better than mine).
The atmosphere was charged, yet hushed as the parishioners awaited Bishop Murphy on the day he was to re-consecrate our lovely tabernacle in this new location in the center of our church. Our former pastor, Monsignor McDonald, who built this church in 1999, was not permitted to place the tabernacle in the center of the church as he wished, by diocesan liturgists(this was before Bishop Murhpy's time) so he built a magnificent chapel for Jesus on the side, where the tabernacle would still be visible to the faithful, and made a point of genuflecting towards it whenever he processed in for Mass.
Today, the tabernacle was in place, awaiting Our Holy Saviour, and the entire church seemed breathless in anticipation.
Bishop Murphy processed into the Church with the entire priestly coterie of St. John's Pastor Joe Coscignano, Pastor Emeretis, Fr. Corcoran, Fr. Tom, and our deacons. Bishop Murhpy, in his homily quoted Pope John Paul II who said, "in God's world, there is no coincidence, only the Divine Plan". Bishop Murphy reminded us of the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict, and his visit on Good Shepherd Sunday. He said he hoped that we would place Christ at the center of our lives as He is in the center of our church, and accept His call to follow Him to eternal happiness.
After communion, the choir sang, "Pange lingua, gloriosi" as the Bishop holding the Blessed Sacrament in the ciborium wrapped in the humeral veil, accompanied by the priests and deacons, processed around the church, with the scent of incense wafting through the air. It was an emotionally powerful moment as the tabernacle received Our Lord, and the bishop knelt in prayer for our parish.
Parishioners responded with the powerful "The Strife is O'er, Alleluia" by Palestrina, and rose, to great their shepherd who has restored Our Lord to His rightful place at the center of our parish church. As you can see, despite a bit too much chatter in the sanctuary after mass (ingoring the new signs reminding us to be silent) the day was perfect!
I invited friends to witness this event, and we met the bishop in the auditorium afterwards to thank him for being a good shepherd.
We anticipate the next church whose tabernacle will be replaced. Ask your pastor, and pray that this blessing may come to your parish.