SOURCE AND SUMMIT #1 – Presbytery
Presbytery’s space is quite important. In our seminar chapel we can see three important places. You can find them in every church. We’ll see that the priest is moving around those three places.
The first one is the altar, which is the most important object in a church. This is the place of Jesus’ sacrifice, it is only for Jesus and totally for Him. We venerate the altar in a special manner. Notice that the priest kisses it and incenses it. This is why we shouldn’t put any flowers on the altar. It is place for Christ not for flowers, which can be placed in front of the altar. We can see this during the Pope’s celebrations. Flowers have their place at the altar and at the pulpit but not on the altar or on the pulpit. The altar is the most precious objects in every church and that is why we venerate it.
The second important place is the pulpit. It is a space for God’s word. We are not allowed to speak here in a secular way. The pulpit is a symbol of the empty tomb. It is an invitation for us priests to preach about Jesus living among us, to say words filled with hope and joy so that people may get some advice and help. The pulpit should also be venerated. Every ornamentation should be placed around the pulpit. During Easter time we should place the Easter candle just at the pulpit. This candle is a symbol of the Risen Christ and we have to proclaim the living Christ. From this place we read the scripture –God’s word. This is a place for the book of God’s word. Notice that the priest kisses the book of the Gospel. If there is a bishop celebrating the Eucharist, he also blesses the people using the book of the Gospels. I would like to ask you not to make any secular speech from the pulpit. It is not the proper place. If a lay person, a politic, wants to say something to people, they must not use the pulpit because it is a place for God. They can speak from another place prepared for such occasions.
And the third important place – the chair. In our church it is placed behind the altar. Sometimes it is placed on the side. This place is to make contact, establish relationships. Notice that during liturgy, instituted after Vatican Council, the priest faces the people. He is a shepherd who looks after his sheep, he is not afraid of them, he speaks to them. The chair is the place to establish relationships with the people, to give instructions to better participate in the liturgy. From the chair the priest can preach or make some announcements. From this place a priest can also bless the people.
We need to take care of those three places in the presbytery: the altar, the pulpit, the chair. If there is a tabernacle in presbytery, we venerate Christ by kneeling, but during the Holy Mass all our attention is focused on the altar, on the pulpit and on the chair. We should venerate those places because they are very important and sacred for us believers.