The center of Catholic worship is the altar. It is on the altar that the Lord’s Sacrifice on Calvary is made present sacramentally. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is sacrificed in an un-bloody manner. Christ is Priest, Victim, altar and sacrifice.
Behind the main altar against the reredos is the Altar of Repose. The altar of repose was inspired by the main altar of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. It is made of an altar, with pillars on four corners and a baldachino above the tabernacle and inscribed “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” from the Book of Revelation and the Mass itself. The baldachino is a sign of the presence of God, as in the Old Testament, the tent was set out and God came down from heaven in His Shekinah glory.
Directly behind the altar and above the reredos, our eyes are drawn to the crucifix. The crucifix orients our worship “toward the Lord who is coming to us.” This is a reminder of what is happening during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The rose window is flanked by two angels, reproduction of Fra Angelico’s work. They stand in awe and worship of Christ, who becomes present in our midst, through His words, pronounced by the Alter Christus (another Christ, the priest), who stands in His place. “This is my body” … “This is the chalice of my blood.” Above the crucifix can be seen an image of the parish patron, the Holy Ghost. A reminder that we need to live our lives in union with the Holy Spirit, who guides and strengthens us with His grace.
In this closeup picture of the Holy Spirit, you can see the light blue hue to the ceiling. The blue reminds us that during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the heaven comes down to us. Jesus tells us, “The kingdom of God is among you.” Wherever the Most Blessed Sacrament is present, we get a taste of heaven. St. Thomas wrote a beautiful prayer, that demonstrates the awesome mystery: “O holy banquet, in which Christ is received, the soul is filled with grace and the promise of future glory is given to us”.