The Cathedral - Sanctuary
The Bishop's chair was completed for Bishop Melczek's Mass of Pastoral Commitment in July of 1996. The original Cathedra was removed in 1972. The present Cathedra is sculpted from black walnut. The design of the Cathedra is intended to express both its location in this church and its connection to the Diocese of Gary. The arched back is reminiscent of the pointed window arches and the gentle arch over the Blessed Sacrament area. The woven back of the Cathedra is black walnut carved from one piece. The woven back is representational of the weave of cultures that make up the Diocese. The angel that stands to the right of the Cathedra is a reminder of the patrons of the Diocese, the Holy Angels. The angel is also a symbol of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the Bishop of the Diocese as well as a sign of guidance in his decisions.
The angel is offset by the colorful coat of arms on the left side of the Cathedra. This is Bishop Melczek's coat of arms. This particular rendition was hand stitched by a member of the Methodist Church in Griffith. It is a sign of the Bishop's office as one who is charged to build up unity among all Christians. The Cathedra sits in the midst of the “presbytery” (that is: the place for the presbyters (priests) and also deacons). This placement teaches us that all pastoral and sacramental ministry flow from the primary Pastor, the Bishop.
The Altar as center of the community represents Christ. Christ is the victim and the altar of sacrifice. The Altar is dedicated by the anointing of Chrism. Chrism, Christ's oil, is spread all over the Altar as the oil was spread over the feet of Jesus shortly before his passion. The Altar is treated as Christ's body thus nothing is simply laid on the altar for reason of decor. Only the bread, wine and the book needed for prayer are placed on the Altar. Even candles are placed around the Altar area. The shape of the Altar suggests that it is both an Altar and a Holy Table. It is the place where the community eats and drinks with God. The four sides are fairly uniform suggesting the equality of all those who gather around the Table.
Elements from the former Altar and reredos (the depiction of our Lord's crucifixion in the apse of the building) were used in erecting the Altar, connecting the new with the old. Surrounding the sanctuary platform, in the floor at its four corners, are the Holy Angels in mosaic. These four angels represent the variety and diversity of the human race and the Diocese of Gary: African, Anglo, Asian and Hispanic. These patrons of the Diocese and the parish invite the faithful to join in their unending hymn of praise.
The Ambo is made of the same material as the reredos and the Altar. Its size does not symbolize its importance, rather the activity that takes places there lends the ambo its primary focus. It is large enough to hold the book of the readings and the book of the Gospels, yet not so large as to block from view the lectors who proclaim the Word, the cantor leading the psalm, or the minister proclaiming the Gospel.