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Inauguration of a Chapel

by Paul Turner

Near the end of the Mass of the dedication of a new church, the bishop may inaugurate a chapel for the Blessed Sacrament. In some churches, the tabernacle is kept in a chapel apart from the main body. That chapel is especially set aside for prayer in this ceremony. 

As communion draws to a close, the leftover consecrated bread is gathered into a ciborium and placed on the altar. After a period of silence, the bishop leads the communion prayer. Then he goes to the altar, kneels before the Blessed Sacrament in the ciborium, and incenses it. He receives the humeral veil, a special long cloth to be draped around his shoulders. Covering the ciborium with the ends of the veil, he lifts it. A procession starts in front of him, led by the cross, candles, and incense. 

In this manner the bishop carries the Blessed Sacrament through the body of the church while everyone sings an appropriate hymn. He enters the chapel that will be set aside for reservation and sets the ciborium down on the altar or inside the tabernacle, leaving its doors open. He removes the humeral veil and incenses the ciborium. If the ciborium was on the altar, the deacon now places it inside the tabernacle. Once these ceremonies have all happened, the deacon closes the tabernacle door. Another minister lights a nearby candle, commonly called the sanctuary lamp, which will always burn to indicate that the Blessed Sacrament is inside the tabernacle. 

The Blessed Sacrament receives all this reverent attention because it is the Body of Christ. Before this tabernacle, inside this special chapel, the faithful filled with awe at this most wondrous mystery may enter, kneel, and pray. ML

For additional bulletin insert resources, try Index of Bulletin Inserts

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Send an e-mail to ML Editor or post an entry on the ML Current Issue Discussion Board. (All submissions become the property of RPI and may be edited for length.)

This bulletin insert originally appeared in Ministry & Liturgy, a pastoral planning resource used by the worship leaders in your parish as an aid for better liturgy. Copyright © 2005, Resource Publications, Inc. 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505. This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher.  For permission e-mail info@rpinet.com.
Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Sant' Anselmo University in Rome. Comment online at ML Current Issue Discussion. Clip art by Helen St. Paul.

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