THE GOLDEN YEARS

FATHER ROGER'S REFLECTIONS

MY FAMILY CHALICE

In 1960 seminarians were not so much concerned about the purchasing of ordination vestments as putting much attention on the CHALICE.  It was my pleasure to design my own chalice which was produced by the Hupfeldt Company in Baltimore in the year 1960.

THE DESIGN:

A wide open cup to indicate a total openness to God's outpouring of grace upon mankind and my desire to be totally at the service of God with every dimension of my being.  It is like the child with open arms who says to his mother: "Mom, I love you this much!"  Total availability and receptivity!

A wide base to indicate the immense love of God who pours himself out for us as perpetuated in the Cup of Salvation through the words of the priest.  There is no limit to the extent of Christ's willingness to offer himself for our sake and obtain for us the source of divine grace and eternal life.

Hammered Silver was chosen as a sign of the precious quality of Christ's redeeming work and the vocation of the priest as he offers Eucharist to perpetuate the work of Christ in our time.  The hammering was to symbolize the imperfect instrumentality of the priest's humanity. I noticed that as the chalice was occasionally professionally polished, some of the hammering was reduced, making the finish a little smoother each time.  I realize now that this can well symbolize how we as Eucharistic Priests and People are purified by our relationship with Christ in Eucharist. 

The CROSS was designed with a shorter secondary transversal bar to indicate the concept of the co-redeeming  work of the priest with Christ. But then I realized that Mary is the more perfect Co-Redemptrix and deserved a line parallel with the crossbeam that held the figure of Christ.  So I apportioned that bar  in honor of Mary and added a slanted bar at the bottom of the cross to show our imperfect participation in the redeeming work of Jesus. Lo! and behold! I found I had used a Greek Cross, also known as an Eastern Orthodox Cross. Subconsciously this depicted to me the universality of Christ's redeeming work: "there is no East nor West", but we are all God's people. How aptly that alludes to my  retirement away from the East Coast diocese I belong to as I now serve in western USA

United Wedding rings are placed on the base of the chalice opposite the Greek Cross.  This was added on in 1977 after my mother passed into heaven.  My father granted that I should have her wedding rings so that I could add them to the chalice as a sign of the espousal love Christ has established with his people by the outpouring of his Blood on the Cross.  I also have my father's wedding ring given to me by my step-mother a few years after dad died. I intend to find a way to add this ring to the other two as a sign of the love of the Blessed Trinity.

WORDS were engraved on the chalice: around the upper lip of the Chalice I requested the words "TU SOLUS SANCTUS" (YOU ALONE ARE HOLY} to remind me through the priesthood that my  ministry is totally graced and not deserved.  The first role of the priest is to continue the Eucharistic presence of Christ in the world so that all may be touched by the transforming grace of his Divine Holiness.  As I drink of the cup, I must drink of that Divine Life Jesus obtained for us.

Around the bottom lip of the chalice, I requested the inscription of the words: "SERVIRE IN LAETITIA" (TO SERVE WITH JOY). Little did I know how prophetic these words would be in observing the challenges that the priesthood has offered over these decades in the life of the Church.  Eventually I learned the importance of striving to keep a joyful heart grounded on inner peace and an obedient heart.

The PATEN was inscribed with the outline of the world with the map of the United States facing forward and the Chi-Rho symbol of Christ on the front of the map to indicate I had chosen to serve at home as a Secular Priest in my home diocese of Fall River. Sitting on the globe of the Earth is an EAGLE, the symbol of John the Apostle.  I chose him as the patron of my priesthood because of his youthfulness, his contemplative spirit, his love for Jesus and the way he is identified as "the one whom Jesus loved." Every Holy Thursday since then, I have spent time at the Eucharistic Repository re-reading the Gospel of John, Chapters 13 ff, reflecting on the Passion of Jesus according to John.

A BLACK ONYX NODE was designed in the form of diced edges evoking the image of a crown.  It was chosen to represent the Crown of Thorns and the color was to portray the sorrow of death by which Jesus obtains salvation for us all.

A SECOND CHALICE WAS OFFERED TO ME BY A FAMILY IN MY HOME PARISH WHILE I WAS STATIONED THERE (it was a promise they made to a relative who died and left his estate to them). THEY HAD ALLOWED ME TO CHOOSE THIS CHALICE.  I CHOSE A VERY DIFFERENT TYPE THIS TIME.  It was a deep chalice indicating to me the depth of the  generosity  of Christ who pours himself out endlessly for our sake.  It depicts the twelve apostles and Christ around the outside of the cup and is coated with a ruby colored enamel, symbol of LOVE.  I call this chalice my FRIENDSHIP CHALICE since it was given in friendship, in memory of a deceased man, and depicts the friends who sat at the Last Supper with Jesus.

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