This new tabernacle cost more than one year’s worth of my salary. Let me tell you why I bought it.
For years, I was stingy with my money. But every Monday of Holy Week, I would meditate on Mary of Bethany spending 300 days’ wages on anointing Jesus’ feet. I would donate money to the poor, the Church, and evangelization, but felt it a waste to spend it on liturgical things.
Jesus, however, said in this passage, “She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me” (Mk 14:6-7).
These words convicted me, so I decided to spend a year’s salary on Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist means everything to me, because Jesus is present truly, really, and substantially. It’s the source and summit of my life and the Christian life, and it has changed my life.
When choosing the tabernacle from a website, I said to then-Deacon Lucio Choi, “Look at all these tabernacles. Don’t look at the price. Just tell me which tabernacle says, ‘The Eucharist is everything.’” He chose the one you see in this picture, all $46,000 worth of it. This is partially why I don’t like Father Lucio anymore.
On the 10th anniversary of my ordination in 2016, I offered the tabernacle to St. Anthony of Padua parish, Vancouver, where I’m pastor, announcing that we would renovate our chapel, inviting all 1,068 parishioners to adore every week.
Now for the past six months, I have been preaching about our goal of having a Eucharistic heart. A Eucharistic heart is one that recognizes Jesus in the host, is drawn to him in its joys and sorrows, and wants to spend time with him. The concrete expression of this and the challenge for our parish is that each person spend 15 minutes a week with the Eucharist.
The new chapel is designed to give us an experience of God’s home: beautiful, sacred, and comfortable. I envision people going in and out constantly, 24 hours a day. People will come in to find nourishment, strength, peace, and joy. Then Jesus will send them out on a mission to love like him! And then they will invite their friends and strangers to come back.
On Sunday, June 30, at 5 p.m., Archbishop Miller will bless our new adoration chapel. Everyone is invited to join the celebration and visit us at 1345 W. 73rd Ave., Vancouver.
Adoration can change the world. Our model of a Eucharistic heart comes from the small Italian village of Lu, near Turin, where in 1881 the mothers decided to pray for vocations. Under the direction of their parish priest they gathered every Tuesday for adoration, received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month, and prayed together. Consequently, their parish produced 323 vocations. When you get things with God right, everything else falls into place.
Imagine if every parish in our archdiocese had a beautiful chapel where all people, even non-Catholics, could encounter Jesus. How can you spend more time with Jesus? Will you help spread Eucharistic adoration?
Father Justin Huang is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua, Vancouver.
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