Message by Diocesan Engineer, Bernard Lauwyck on the BLESSING and DEDICATION OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT BOURNE TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE in BOURNE
May 1, 2011
The building of this new chapel was a LABOUR OF LOVE.
- A Labour of love for Fr. Sharplis , who came up with the idea to have this chapel dedicated to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE.
- A labour of love for the many hands who worked on this chapel, under the supervision of Mr. Patrick Jno Baptiste and Mr. Jefferson JAMES, and the many people who donated and contributed. The people who settle the ownership of the land.
- A labour of love for me, the designer of the chapel and I was also very much involved in the beautiful curved ceiling, arched windows & doors and stained glass window.
Today, our Bishop has DEDICATED this chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe and CONSECRATED the altar, a table set aside for the celebration of the Eucharist.
As the designer of the Sacred Space, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain some elements of the design of this chapel :
- First of all, as all great Cathedrals, this little chapel is facing EAST, you are sitting, praying and celebrating facing East. In Ezekiel 43 we read : ”The glory of God comes from the east” The rising of the sun in the East each day has been seen, since early apostolic times, as a symbol of the Resurrection of the Saviour and of His Second Coming. This chapel is facing East.
- Secondly, ” church buildings, to be used for divine worship, ought to be beautiful and symbolic” Beauty is a powerful means to draw us closer to the Mystery of God.
• beauty will make the Truth of Christ in the liturgy more attractive,
• it will bring and draw people inside,
• It will invite us to engage and participate actively in the liturgy,
• It will cause us to be transformed so that we in turn can transform the world.
We constructed this beautiful chapel to glorify God so that God can sanctify us and make us grow towards salvation.
3. Symbolism : The ceiling with the shape of a tent. We all know the words from JOHN 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
A literal translation of this passage is “In Jesus, God has pitched his tent among us.”(John 1:14). Pitched his tent among us !! This links the new testament to the old testament where the LORD said to Moses: ” make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among my people. You must make the tabernacle and all its furnishings following the plan that I am showing you.” (Exodus 25:8-10). This tabernacle was a tent-like sanctuary that the wandering nomadic Hebrews carried with them. The English word “tabernacle” is derived from Latin “tabernaculum” which means TENT.
This new chapel with a tent shaped ceiling will be God’s tent, God’s tabernacle, here in BOURNE.
After Moses built this tent, this sanctuary, we read The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” Exodus 40 : 34.
But sometime we forget about the human tabernacle who was filled with the GLORY OF GOD : The humble servant MARY. She is depicted her as she appeared in Guadalupe, Mexico.
This brings us to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, this chapel’s patron .
The idea to dedicated this chapel to the memory of the Virgin of Guadalupe was proposed by Fr. Sharplis and accepted by our Bishop Gabriel Malzaire.
Above the altar you see the beautiful stained glass window, a copy of the TILMA or cloak that is displayed in the shrine of the Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The miraculous image produced on the cloak of Blessed Juan Diego is rich in symbolism.
We note in the Book of Revelation 12
“ A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman who was adorned with the sun,
with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars”
These 12 stars are shining on your chapel fascia boards facing East as a crown of Our Blessed Lady;
Her mantle is also studded with many stars : The Eight pointed star.
The 8 pointed star is a symbol of REDEMPTION and REGENERATION;
You might remember that only 8 people were saved from the waters of the Flood on board of the ark van Noah. Many baptismal fonts have a 8 sided shape or octagon.
The number 8 refers to the eighth day, the day after the Jewish sabbath day or the seventh day in their Jewish week. The day Jesus Christ was resurrected
The Red Roses on the fascia board facing West.
Upon request of evidence of the apparition by the Bishop of the Diocese, Our Lady of Guadalupe provide this miracle : when Juan Diego opened his coat or Tilma , red roses fell on the ground and the image of OUR LADY of GUADALUPE revealed itself on the Tilma.
Usually the patron of a chapel of church should be placed at the entrance, but here we have Jesus mother looking down on the altar, the table of her Son’s sacrifice, repeated at every Eucharistic celebration in this chapel.
I want to close with the words of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE to Juan Diego which are very relevant to us, here in BOURNE, in these troubled times :
Her words were :
“I love you.
I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence.
He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.
I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion.
• All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place.
• Here I will see their tears;
• Here I will console them
• and they will be at peace.
To God be the Glory !!
So you can see that this is a building full of symbolism and meaning. I hope you will take care of it and put it to proper use.
Bernard Lauwyck, Diocesan Engineer, May 2011