One of St. Gertrude’s favorite places in the world was the chapel she worshiped in every day that she had her health. I was recently thinking about my own small parish church…and how it compared to those of St. Gertrude’s time. My church is ultra modern, simple, almost sterile. And then I came across this photo of a newly designed sanctuary in St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, Stamford, Connecticut.

(Gasp!!!) Is that a Communion railing I’m looking at? And a Tabernacle against the back wall?

What are these people thinking?

That’s when I realized that my growing discomfort with my parish was not its sterile design, but the absense of the two most important elements of the churches of my youth: the tabernacle and the communion railing.

I say God bless these architects at St. Gabriels. They may be more attuned to St. Gertrude and her devotion to the Eucharist than many other Catholic architectural designers today. Gertrude built every day around her attendance at the Mass and reception of Communion. What might she have thought about the decision makers at St. Gabriel’s returning the tabernacle to its rightful place at the center of the sanctuary while making way for the return of the Communion railing (thereby encouraging Communion in the kneeling position)? I suspect she would have been thrilled. I further suspect the Pope himself (who has mandated communion in the kneeling position at St. Peter’s) might also have been thrilled.

I can’t say I’ve ever read Gertrude comments on this particular issue, but I am convinced she would have been aghast at the current condition of our church architecture in most parishes. I can see her smiling down on those good people in Stamford and approving their decision to restore rightful balance to their local sanctuary.

Good bishops and local pastors everywhere, please take note of this. PLEASE bring back our tabernacles and communion rails. STOP turning our churches into social halls where prayers and reflection have been replaced by irreverent and often raucious secularism. Our churches are not houses of the people; they are the House of God.

Let’s put God back in His rightful place. What do you think?