In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the Sanctuary lamp and Tabernacle veil (cover) remind us that Jesus is really here in church among us, waiting for our loving greeting. The two small windows immediately to the left of this Altar show the Lamb of Sacrifice and a pelican, a bird which will feed its young on its own blood if their survival is in question; both of these are reminders that Christ, the Lamb of God, Shed His Blood for us.
The Mosaic framing the Tabernacle represents the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, which prefigured how, at every Mass, Christ who, that day, fed thousands in a hungry crowd with earthly food would, one day, feed our souls with Himself in Holy Communion, the Food of Life which will help us be made stronger and avoid doing bad things on our way to Heaven. In this mosaic are also the Paschal Lamb, some grapes and a Chalice, recalling the Sacrificial Death of Christ once-for-all on Calvary.
In the Chapel’s main side window, above the benches, we see portrayed the Last Supper, at which Jesus gave His Apostles, our first Priests, their First Holy Communion and to whom he gave His Power to change bread and Wine into his Living Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to give to us at Mass. In the round window above this scene is an image of the letters X and P, from the beginning of the Name of Christ in Greek (‘Chi’ and ‘Rho’), a language in which the Faith was first preached. The same image is to be found on the Altar Rail in front of the votive candle stand, and on the Blessed Sacrament Altar itself, reminding us that, as well as being Priest and Victim, Christ is the Altar of Sacrifice. On Maundy (Holy) Thursday, after the Commemoration of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, the High (main) Altar is stripped bare, looking towards the bleakness of Calvary following Christ’s Death on Good Friday and, until midnight, the Blessed Sacrament reposes in the Tabernacle for our Adoration, as Christ’s Body rested in the Tomb.
Above the High Altar is the Crucifix (i.e. the Cross with the figure of Christ on it), because, on the Altar, at every Mass, the once-for-all Sacrifice of the Cross is, through the hands and words of the Priest, made present for our participation. If we are privileged to have one of our Priests come and offer Mass for us in our home, he will place a Crucifix on whatever serves as an Altar of Sacrifice. It also reminds us that we pray in the Name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the reverse of this particular Crucifix is depicted Christ Rising from the Dead and reaching for His Crown.
Lower down on the wall, progressing round our church, beginning near the entrance to the Sacristy (where Father and the Altar Servers get ready before Mass) and ending near the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, we have 14 Stations of the Cross (also called the Way of the Cross), pictures which trace the Journey of Love made by Jesus from His trial in the Roman Governor’s court to His Burial in the Tomb. These Stations are a link with the actual way of the Cross, still walked by Pilgrims in Jerusalem, making it possible for us to be ‘in spirit’ on that holy ground which we may not necessarily ever be able to visit in person.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church