Ten days ago I had the opportunity to consecrate a new altar at Light of Christ parish in Clearwater. The pictures of the altar and sanctuary which accompany this blog attest to the beauty and simplicity of the changes brought to bear on a parish which basically has been occupying the same worship space since its founding and construction of the present Church (1966 for the founding of the parish).
For forty-seven years, the parish has only had two pastors, the late Monsignor Timothy Allman and the present Father Jacob Monteleone. Light of Christ is a small Church, serving what was once a larger community of Catholics, but a number of parishes have been carved out of it over the years and the original “footprint” of the Church is adequate to the moment. The sanctuary used to be quite “cluttered” with the essentials and then other things. What Father Monteleone has done has been to leave only the altar and ambo and presider’s chair in the actual sanctuary while fitting a new altar and matching ambo and a yet to arrive Presider’s chair. The tabernacle remains in the same place it has always been, which is behind the main altar but off the sanctuary platform.
Light of Christ would be one of those parishes where doing anything to the space might have aroused tensions and feelings but not so in this instance, as the pastor led his people through the decision making process and utilized good catechesis. As a result, I had the clear feeling that those present for the weekend Mass which I celebrated were proud of their accomplishments and grateful for the new emphasis on the two tables: of the Word and of the Eucharist.
Congratulations to all at Light of Christ for presenting to the Lord a lovelier space for the celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments.