The unique, vividly colorful and boldly representational tabernacle that will eventually be the centerpiece of Christ Cathedral’s Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was unveiled on the cathedral campus May 12 and blessed by Bishop Kevin Vann.
Crafted by the celebrated modern German artist Egino Weinert, it was the last tabernacle created by the artist before his death in 2012.
The unveiling before a group of donors, benefactors, clergy and other diocesan officials and guests took place on the second floor of the campus’ Cultural Center, in the main room that currently houses an exhibit of plans and models of the renovation of Christ Cathedral in several stages. The tabernacle and the tall sculpted bronze pillar on which it stands will remain on public display in its glass case in the Cultural Center while the cathedral is being renovated.
Monsignor Arthur Holquin, S.T.L., the Episcopal Vicar for Divine Worship for the Diocese of Orange, located the tabernacle in a museum in Germany maintained by Weinert’s widow. All other tabernacles fashioned by Weinert were in churches throughout the world (including Holy Family Cathedral in Orange and St. Vincent de Paul Church in Huntington Beach), making the museum’s tabernacle the last of its kind.
The tabernacle consists of four enameled side panels crafted using the champlevé technique, similar to cloisonné. Each scene is taken from the life of Christ and his ministry. The door panel depicts the newborn Christ child cradled in the arms of his mother as shepherds adore on bended knee. A second panel depicts Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana. A third shows Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus as she encounters the risen Christ. The final panel represents Thomas the apostle falling in adoration before Jesus after doubting that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
The bronze pillar supporting the tabernacle also was crafted by Weinert in the same simple, accessible and almost child-like artistic style. The images on the pillar present a visual narrative of the life of Christ from his birth to his resurrection.