Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Lady of Providence

Fr. Jay Finelli, the iPadre, sent in some photos of Our Lady of Providence in Providence, built by Bishop Russell J. McVinney in 1959, serving as a high school and college seminary.

Here are a few photos of the chapel.

This particular chapel contains one of my favourite architectural elements, the ciborium. (It must be noted that the arrangement above would benefit greatly from a more proportioned -- i.e. tall -- set of candlesticks, not to mention an antependium.)

Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster wrote the following in his famed liturgical study, The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum): Historical and Liturgical Notes on the Roman Missal, on the topic of the ciborium:

The sum of the Christian religion was there upon the Altar, the gospel of the Word and the gifts of the Paraclete. For this reason, in the minds of the early Christians, the altar could never be without the halo of its sacred nature -- that is, the ciborium or baldacchino in marble or in silver. The altar in its entirety constituted the true tabernacle of the Most High, who assuredly could not dwell sub divo without a special roof of his own under the lofty vaulting of the naos. (p. 163)

And the English liturgiologist, Edmund Bishop, also commented:

The canopy served for honour: the existence of a covering over, and marking the seat of the ruler, magistrate, pontiff, existed in the general instinct of the peoples; it was surely fitting to render the same honour to the seat of Majesty of the King of Kings...

"On the History of the Christian Altar" in Liturgica Historica

Particularly in this time when freestanding altars have become normative, we would do well to utilize the ciborium magnum.

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