Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Remains of the day

Daniel Bayless, whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I spoke in Manchester, N.H. — he directs the music ministry for St. Joseph Cathedral there — took this arresting photo. He explains:

The reliquaries belong to St. Joseph Cathedral, but a parish in the diocese had called to borrow them for a liturgy they were doing. Apparently, when they were returned, they were taken to the extremely busy sacristy during Easter week. Of course, after doing the gamut of liturgies during the Triduum, every spare inch of counter space was taken up with everything from consecrated chrism to chalices to stoles — basically every liturgical vessel or object imaginable. Apparently, the only space into which these relics would fit was a luggage stand with a tray on top.

I was taking one of my many daily trips from my office in the rectory to the organ loft in the cathedral and happened upon the pile of reliquaries as you see them in the photo. I had the thought that only in the cathedral sacristy would reliquaries be such everyday objects. Not that it was meant in an impious manner, but that's the reality of the liturgical life around this place. We barely have time to recover from one before the next begins!
Having met the rector and others who are part of the St. Joseph parish, I can vouch that there is nothing impious about the place — and methinks it has far more saints than could fit on a plate.