Posted by: Catholic of Thule | May 11, 2011

Pie Pelicane!

Pelican of mercy, Jesu, Lord and God,

Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:

Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured

Might from all transgression have the world restored.

(From a poetic translation of Adoro te devote)

I love the image of the pelican feeding its young with its own blood, as it was believed to do in a case of emergency, as a metaphor of Christ feeding us with His own blood, cleansing us, imparting to us eternal life and maintaining that life in us if we only would let Him. Lately I have specifically been looking for pelicans, and have found quite a few in Belfast, though I didn’t have a camera with me all the time. I was pleased to find two pelicans in St. Peter’s cathedral in Belfast, one behind the sanctuary and another in a side window. There is also a Pelican in St. Kevin’s in Dublin. I think every Catholic church should have a pelican somewhere!!!

The pelican above is from the  sanctuary steps in St. Malachy’s in Belfast.  I am particularly happy with its central position  in front of the altar and also aligned with the tabernacle on the high altar immediately behind it. I appear not to have got a picture of the surrounding words, but  it says either ‘Behold’ or ‘Adore’ ‘Christ’ or ‘the Lord’ ‘in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar’. If I had a better memory, I could tell you exactly which, but obviously I don’t. However, you get the gist of it, I’m sure.

 

The position of the image and the inscription on either side obviously accentuates its role as an image of Christ feeding us with His own blood. In St. Malachy’s it thus serves as a particularly striking and moving reminder of the love of God and what He has done for us and is still doing for us in Holy Mass, not only in the literal feeding of us when we receive Holy Communion, but importantly in the shedding of His blood for us in His sacrifice on Calvary made sacramentally present to us in an unbloody but very real manner in the sacrifice of the Mass. No sacrifice, no living bread. Too often it appears that people remember only the living bread and not the sacrifice which in God’s great mercy makes it available to us, to the detriment of our understanding and appreciation of either.

I was in St. Malachy’s on Sunday 1 May for the monthly traditional Mass celebrated by Fr. Martin Graham, the curate of St. Malachy’s. It is normally celebrated in St. Paul’s, my old parish church, on every first Sunday of the month, but was moved this Sunday due to the annual Divine mercy liturgies in St. Paul’s.  Father celebrated Mass beautifully!  I’m including an image of the sanctuary as the altar was being cleared after Mass. I would love to have an image from Mass, but the drawback of that is actually having to take a picture at that time, so you will have to enjoy the sanctuary of St. Malachy’s sans Mass.


PS: On a somewhat unrelated topic,  I also spotted the tardis on my travels, in Glasgow to be precise.  No sign of the Doctor, though. He must have been out and about on one of his missions to save the universe:
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