Sanctuary and Main Altar – Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The center point of the Cathedral building corresponds with focal point of the Eucharistic Celebration in the white and dark marble altar table beneath the crown-encircled Crucifix and the 115-foot high interior dome topped with a white dove amid radiant gold and puffy clouds in a blue-backgrounded oculus.

The architecturally-motif’d and massive two-toned marble altar table sits on a marble-covered half-hexagonal-shaped elevated platform reached by climbing five steps. Although the table is generally covered by a cloth of colors relevant to the liturgical season, when it is uncovered one can observe the alternating round-arch and pillar pattern in dark-colored stone embedded in the white marble creating a magnificent setting for the celebration of the Mass. The table is usually flanked by a column of candles on either side. Above the altar is the center of Roman Catholic worship, an enormous 13-foot-high, sculpted wood Crucifix suspended by aircraft cables – beneath the transcendent central dome which was hidden from view for more than 70 years, but uncovered during the 2005 Restoration. The Crucifix is encircled by the phrase of each Eucharistic consecration, Jesus’ words, “This is My Body That is for You” (1 Cor 11:24).

The interior dome was covered-over during an interior remodel in the 1930’s – apparently to remedy acoustic and structural issues. Over 50 feet and an immensity of space has been resurrected with the restoration of the dome. The octagonal base of the dome sits atop four pillars at each corner of the transept crossing; and on the pendentives of the pillars are depictions of the four Gospel evangelists, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The seven sacraments are symbolically represented on the sides of each pillar. On the facing of the base of the dome is an antiphon in Latin composed by a Doctor of the Latin Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, which is an encapsulation of the theology of the Eucharist, and reads in English as, “O sacred banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is renewed; where the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.” Higher into the dome, one encounters sixteen roundels which tell the story of the Eucharist in paintings and referenced Scripture verses. At the peak of the dome is a gloriously blue-sky-colored lens with golden rays and white clouds, twenty-four feet across, emblazoned with a white dove as the Holy Spirit at the top.

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