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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mary's Month of May and a First Communion

I love May! Not only because it's the month of Mary for whom I was named, but because it's also the month of First Communion and Ordination, two sacraments essential to the life of the faithful. Today one of our grandchildren made his First Communion at All Saints in Manassas. It was our first time in the new church and I was so pleased to see how beautiful it is. It replaces one of the "ugly as sin" churches from the post Vatican II era.

The first thing I noticed was how bright it is with lots of windows unlike some of the dismal churches in the diocese (Holy Spirit comes to mind). The beautiful tabernacle is returned to its proper place in the center of the sanctuary unlike its placement in a separate room in the old church. (The old tabernacle was truly ugly as well. Jesus is honored much more in His new home.) A beautiful crucifix replaces the awful painting that hung in the old church. (Thank God!)

But the feature that struck me the most was the altar. The wood is stained a beautiful warm brown and there are crosses the same color on a square, cream-colored background on the corners of the top. In the center on the base is another larger cross on the same cream background. The three crosses gave me an impression of the door and windows of a house, especially because the altar top is gabled on the bottom creating the idea of a roof, unusual and very striking.

When Father spoke in his sermon about the Eucharist bringing heaven down to earth, I thought about the image of the altar as the entrance into our heavenly home. "Of course, the Eucharist is the door to heaven and the altar is both the altar of sacrifice and the center of our Catholic family just like the table in our own homes is the center for family gatherings and celebrations.

The parish has a wonderful photo collection from the dedication of the church that shows all the features I'm talking about. Take a Sunday stroll to All Saints either virtually or for real and rejoice at this wonderful knew "house of God" honoring Our Lord. And a big thank you to all involved in its design and construction.

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