by James Campbell
It is fitting that the altar should be dedicated at St. David’s on the Patronal Feast of
the Diocese, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was
celebrated on 8 December. The ceremony is full of symbolism, and is a reminder that
Christ is the victim, the priest, the altar of his own sacrifice. Because of our union with
him in faith and Baptism, his members place on the altar the spiritual sacrifice of
their own lives. As the place where the people gather for worship, the altar is the table
for a sacred banquet and an altar of sacrifice.
The ceremony of Dedication captures these truths in a symbolic way. The altar is
anointed with the Oil of Chrism, as the body of Jesus was anointed with oil for his
burial. It is lit with fire speaking of the purification wrought by the salvation he brings
to the world. The relics of martyrs and saints are placed within the altar, a sign of the
tomb in which their bodies were lain after the sacrifice which they had made in their
lives and death. It is clothed in white linen, a reminder of the body of Jesus being
wrapped in linen before being placed in the tomb. The altar is honoured with incense,
a dramatic reminder of our prayers and heart and mind being raised up to God
around the altar.
The dedication of the altar took place at St. David’s Cathedral, during Mass at 6pm,
on 8 December. There is an open invitation to all parishioners.