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(picture on the cover; story on page 5)
In Catholic architecture, the altar holds a privileged position. It is at the altar that the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present again. It is at the altar that the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is at the altar that the Lord offers Himself—the Perfect Victim—to the Father in atonement for our sins.
The dedication ceremony takes place after the homily and involves the Rites of Anointing, Incensing, Covering, and Lighting the Altar. They express in visible signs several aspects of the invisible work that the Lord accomplishes through the Church in its celebration of the divine mysteries, especially the Eucharist.
a) The anointing with chrism makes the altar a symbol of Christ, who, before all others, is the Anointed One. The Father anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and constituted Him the High Priest so that on the altar of His Body, He might offer the sacrifice of His life for the salvation of all.
b) Incense is burned on the altar to signify that Christ’s sacrifice, there perpetuated in mystery, ascends to God as an odor of sweetness, and also to signify that the people’s prayers rise up pleasing and acceptable, reaching the throne of God.
c) The covering of the altar indicates that the Christian altar is the altar of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the table of the Lord. Gathered around it, priests and people celebrate the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection and partake of His supper. For this reason, the altar is prepared as the table of the sacrificial banquet and adorned as for a feast. Thus the dressing of the altar clearly signifies that it is the Lord’s table at which all God’s people joyously meet to be refreshed with divine food, namely, the body and blood of Christ sacrificed.
d) The lighting of the altar teaches us that Christ is a light to enlighten the nations. His brightness shines out in the Church and through it in the whole human family.
Borrowed from liturgyoffice.org.uk
The Saint Agnes Christian Mothers and Ladies Guild sponsored a reception in Resurrection Hall after the Mass.