As many of you visit different parish churches around the diocese and as you travel, you have seen various placements of the tabernacle. It is a rather complicated issue. Many newly-built churches place the tabernacle behind a screen, behind the altar, in a devotional chapel. This is true at the new St. Mary Parish Church in Park City, St. Thomas More Parish, and the renovated Cathedral of the Madeleine. The sanctuary space at our parish does not allow for this practice.
St. Vincent de Paul has a long tradition of private prayer before the tabernacle in the body of the church during the day as well as before and after mass. We saw no need to tamper with or change that beautiful practice. Keeping the tabernacle to the side of altar in the sanctuary has served us well and is something with which we are all accustomed.
However, in planning a ramp for accessibility to the altar, ambo and tabernacle, space will be needed directly along the side and back wall of the sanctuary. This led to the decision to move the tabernacle to the other side of the sanctuary.
The unique wooden panel, that is original to church, will be recessed creating a niche where the tabernacle will be placed. It will create a wonderful sense of importance for the tabernacle.
Its placement in the recessed area will also allow for creative spotlighting of this beautiful receptacle of the Body of Christ, while it remains distinctly present in our parish church. The white marble altar top, presently directly under the tabernacle, will be part of this new configuration. The sanctuary lamp will also be appropriately placed. The cherished statue of the Holy Family will remain in its present place.
The ramp for accessibility will be on the eastern side of the sanctuary. With the tabernacle moved, the chairs for the priest and ministers can be placed more directly facing the congregation. The entire sanctuary will be raised to the present level of the altar. This will easily allow any minister, deacon, lector, altar server or pastor, with a disability, access to the altar, ambo and tabernacle.
The flooring in the sanctuary will be wood.