Church of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Richmond Hill, NY
One of the church’s most significant enhancements involved converting the former narthex (foyer) into a Chapel for the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament (tabernacle). The baldacchino of the tabernacle was designed and fabricated to emulate the cupola and steeple that exists on the church building itself. Its gilded dome is clearly evident upon entering the interior, down the central aisle, but appropriately “disappears” from the seating locations during liturgy, where the concentrically placed altar and assembly become the focus for the active Presence of Eucharist to take place.
The altar and ambo are fashioned from mahogany, while the inlays surrounding the altar form an eight pointed star, depicting the Eighth Day, the day after the Hebrew Sabbath upon Christ’s Resurrection. The ambo is adjusted by a motorized lift to accommodate wheelchair users and child lectors. The entire predella platform is accessible by a discreet ramp that runs integral with the reredos portal forward of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Reconciliation chapels were created with “gypsum-board wizardry” to form three classically inspired entablatures for two chapels of reconciliation in the former sanctuary. In front of these chapels and adjacent to the new entrances is a full immersion baptismal font with living (recirculating, heated, and filtered) water. Blessed oils for the sacraments of the sick and catechumens and the consecrated oil for the sacraments of chrismation are encased and enshrined at the chapels of reconciliation.
Lastly, pendant lighting was replaced by designing and fabricating architectural enclosures for indirect sconces, and accent lighting is provided by recessed incandescent fixtures with convenient lamp replacements made possible from the catwalk in the attic.