New Tabernacle, Doors Blessed at Aurora Parish
By Margarita Mendoza, Editor El Observador
May 2, 2024
AURORA—Parishioners of St. Therese of Jesus and Father Darwin Flores, parochial administrator, are joyful because Bishop David Malloy blessed two significant parish renovations. 
The April 23 evening of blessings started with 6 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Malloy and concelebrated by Msgr. Arquímedes Vallejo, episcopal vicar for Hispanic Ministry, adjunct judicial vicar and pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Elgin, Father William Vallejo, pastor of St. Monica Parish, Carpentersville, and Father Flores.
The homily pointed to the role of the tabernacle to be blessed. During the bilingual Spanish and English homily, Bishop Malloy explained that “The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist does not disappear after Mass.” Once the priest says the words of consecration, “The bread becomes the Body; the wine becomes the Blood. It does not turn backwards.”
Bishop Malloy also highlighted that “the Eucharist is not something symbolic. It is something that we cannot understand because it is bigger than us… The Eucharist is the Body of Christ. 
“Every time we receive communion, we are receiving Christ Himself.” Therefore, the one we receive reverently in the hand or on the tongue “is God, His body,” the bishop said.
After Communion, Father Flores placed the ciboria with consecrated hosts in the open, empty tabernacle. Bishop Malloy and the altar servers set up the incense. Then the bishop knelt on a kneeler in front of the altar, facing the Blessed Sacrament, and prayed in silence. In their pews, parishioners also knelt and prayed.
Bishop Malloy then stood and closed the double doors of the tabernacle, accompanied by Deacon Julio Rosado.
The tabernacle is gold and silver and stands out against the terra cotta brick wall of the church. It is embedded in a white marble cross bordered by a white LED light. Guarding the tabernacle on each side are gold and white angels, each with a lamp.
The tabernacle itself has several sets of doors. An internal door is silver. On its outer surface is a golden cross with an embossed circle in the center. This circle is made of two small doors, which can be opened to display the consecrated host during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. When closed, these small doors show the figure of a lamb. Decorating the cross are four red stones and  golden rays.
External doors protect the tabernacle. When they are open, each displays a guardian angel embossed in silver. When they are closed, the outside shows a larger figure of a lamb. Surrounding the entire tabernacle is a large gold cross with the images of the four evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — at each end.
The tabernacle was made in Zacatecas, Mexico, and cost $12,000, purchased with donations from parishioners and parish fundraising activities.
The blessing of this place where the Body of Christ rests in the consecrated host takes on special importance this year, Father Flores explained. “This year … the bishops of the United States … invite all parishes to venerate and adore the Blessed Sacrament … We are doing everything possible to highlight this fact of worshipping Christ… I hope that we can always approach the sacramental Lord with devotion,” he said.
At the end of the Mass, Msgr. Arquímedes Vallejo acknowledged the importance of Bishop Malloy’s presence, saying that “the bishop is the successor of the apostles; he is the head of our diocese.”
Bishop Malloy expressed his gratitude “to the entire community” since improvement “in the house of the Lord is vital for our faith” and for future generations, just as St. Therese of Jesus’s current parishioners received the parish from previous generations, all the way back to 1925.
Afterward, he processed from the altar to the new glass and bronze doors at the entrance of the parish with the Knights of Columbus providing a pathway of honor. Joining the bishop’s procession were the priests, deacon, altar servers and the over-100 attendees who solemnly watched as the bishop blessed the doors with prayer and holy water. Speaking about each blessing, Bishop Malloy said, “It is something simple, but it is the depth of what it represents.”  
Finally, many attendees personally greeted the bishop. The parish gathered for a celebration in the Santa Teresa Hall where they enjoyed delicious pambazos (sandwiches), sodas and water.
Carla Fonseca, a parishioner of St. Therese of Jesus since the 1970s, expressed the unity of the parish community: there is  “a lot of joy … When they make collections we cooperate” and parishioners join “when they make breakfasts. We are a united community.”
The updates around the parish, Father Flores said, “are part of the planning for the celebration of [the] centenary of the parish next year.” 
He says he looks forward to another parish update honoring the Eucharist, set for May 30: “a new monstrance for Corpus Christi. Its inauguration will be with a procession around the church and the school.”


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