Updated: Apr 6, 2021
St. John the Evangelist Cathedral begins project to restore tabernacle to center of sanctuary
The following story appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register.
Tabernacle to be placed at St. John’ s Cathedral.
Parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral parish and members of the Church from throughout the Diocese will have plenty to celebrate this year as the Cathedral celebrates its 100th anniversary.
The Cathedral was dedicated on March 27, 1921, but the official celebration of the centennial is planned for June 6. By then the mother church of the Diocese of Boise will have completed a renovation and a restoration.
The renovation is of the stairs leading to the east and southern entrances of the Cathedral, a project recently completed. The restoration is the return of the Tabernacle and the dome under which it rests to its original location in the center of the altar area. That will mean moving the Bishop’s Chair and the canopy, now in the center, over it to the north wall of the sanctuary.
“The mission of the Church is to bring souls to Christ and make Him the center of our lives,” said Father Mariusz Majewski and Deacon Daniel Gamboa, parish administrator, in a letter to parishioners. “We believe this should be reflected in our worship space, especially at the Mother Church of our Diocese. Restoring Jesus to the center of our Cathedral, the most prominent place of honor, will assist the faithful into a deeper understanding of Christ truly present and alive in the tabernacle, and lead to a deepening of true adoration and devotion.”
The Cathedral launched a fundraising effort this month to raise the estimated $200,000 it will cost to complete the restoration. The project begins the week of Feb. 15 and is expected to take about 90 days, Deacon Gamboa said.
Weekend Masses will not be disturbed by the construction, though the view of the back of the sanctuary will be obstructed. The daily 8:30 Mass and Exposition will continue to be held in the main sanctuary upstairs, but the daily 12:15 p.m. Mass will be celebrated in the downstairs chapel, where it was celebrated before the pandemic.
The project is timed to be completed in time for Corpus Christi Sunday on June 6, the feast that celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ. At that time, the Cathedral will celebrate its centennial, the centennial of its organ, the renovation of the steps and the restoration of the sanctuary.
Events will begin on Saturday evening, June 5 with a Mass followed by an organ concert.
After the Sunday, June 6 Corpus Christi Mass, a procession of the Blessed Sacrament will take place through downtown, followed by a street fair.
The plan is to close Eighth Street in front of the Cathedral’s main entrance to create room for food and other street festival vendors.
Each parish is invited to send delegates to the Mass, procession and festival, Deacon Gamboa said. “We are inviting the whole Diocese, as this is the Mother Church of the Diocese, to participate in this project and celebrate with us. The Cathedral belongs to everyone.”
According to an announcement on the Cathedral website, boisecathedral.org, the 90-day restoration project will include:
Restoration of the tabernacle and the 4.5-ton reredos (dome and columns housing the tabernacle) to its original location.
Restoration of the Bishop's baldacchino and cathedra (canopy and chair) to north wall of sanctuary.
Restoration of the original baptismal font to new location north of the existing baptismal pool.
Relocation of the ambry to a new location on the north wall below the St. Joseph statue.
Relocation of the Sacred Heart statue to where the tabernacle is currently located.
Raising the current crucifix in the sanctuary to a higher level.
Buying a new tabernacle and monstrance
Deacon Gamboa said he approached Bishop Peter with the idea a couple of years ago.
"We walked the area several times to get a vision of what we were looking at and what we wanted," Deacon Gamboa said. "The bishop was fully supportive of our wish to relocate the tabernacle front and center.”
Regarding the placement of the tabernacle, Paragraph 314 of The Roman Missal states, "In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, conspicuous, worthily decorated and suitable for prayer."
Two churches in the Treasure Valley - Our Lady of the Rosary in east Boise and Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell - have recently relocated their tabernacles to the front center of the sanctuary.
Those wanting to the contribute to the project can go to
https://www.osvhub.com/boisecathedral/funds and choose "Tabernacle Project" at the bottom of the page.
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