22 December 2006

The Sacred Heart Chapel

The 7:00 a.m. weekday Masses are offered in the Chapel of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus at Our Lady of the Atonement Church, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place here beginning at 7:30 a.m. every Friday, continuing until 7:15 a.m. every Sunday. This chapel also contains the black granite columbarium, with six hundred niches for our departed loved ones.

The altar and tabernacle are beneath a gothic baldacchino, and over the altar is a dignified "English-style" statue of the Sacred Heart. I call it "English-style" because it is not the usual effeminate, pastel "flying Jesus" depiction of the Sacred Heart; rather, He has a firm and dignified stance, with a kindly and masculine expression. The icon of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Child was obtained during our recent parish pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey. We celebrated Holy Mass at the House of the Blessed Virgin in Ephesus, and found this exquisite icon nearby. The image has a beautiful silver and gold oklad, and since this picture was taken we have added a hanging lamp which burns beside the icon.  The sanctuary lamp is from the mid-nineteenth century, in the style of French gothic, and at the west end of the Chapel is a small German positif pipe organ.

All in all, the chapel is a wonderful place not only for the celebration of Mass, but also for private prayer. It seats about eighty people.