Raymond G. HelMick, S.J.

THE TABERNACLE TOWER IN SAINT THERESA OF AVILA CHURCH WEST ROXBURY

Raymond G. Helmick, S.J.

When Father (now Monsignor) William Helmick planned a renovation of our parish church in the late 1980s, he found it prescribed that the tabernacle should be placed somewhere other than in its familar place, the center of the sanctuary. A lot of people found that difficult to understand. It seemed to detract from the reverence they felt for the Blessed Sacrament.

As the Pastor's brother, I rather lightly threw off the suggestion: "Go for the Gothic solution." By that I meant building a tower structure for the tabernacle, such as had often been done in late Gothic times in the 15th century. The only one I had ever seen, a beautiful, complex example, was in the Nuremberg church of Saint Lorenz, and I described it.

My thinking was that, even if given its own place in the church away from the center, such a tabernacle could never be seen as less honor to the sacrament. The idea, at that time, must have sounded attractive but a bit zany. After a couple of years had gone by without any better solutions coming to light, the tower got to seem more practical. It isn't the sort of thing you can order from the store, so in the summer of 1990 I set out to build it. It has been a long time since. Working out its symbolism has been as fascinating a task as building it. Now that the tower is finished, this booklet is meant to explain it.

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