If we only knew what they know!
Chalices, ciboria, altars, shrines, saints and helpers in times of need shroud themselves in silence about blessings bestowed, prayers answered and sins confessed. They are joint keepers of the secrets behind a centuries-long cultural history.
The most important ceremonies in the life of a Christian are the “sacraments,” which convey the grace of God.
They include the following: Baptism (admission to the Christian community), confirmation (renewal of baptismal vows), penance (forgiveness of sins), Eucharist (mass and communion), last rites (of the dying), marriage and priest ordination.
The Eucharist, which commemorates the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ and is celebrated at the altar, is a central element. The altar is the focal point of the church and symbolises both the table of the Last Supper and the grave. It always includes a cross, a set of candlesticks and the “sacred vessels,” which must be made of precious metal.
In times when few believers could read, pictorial representations and sculptures were essential to convey religious content above and beyond the sermons. Christ on the cross is the principal symbol of Christianity and is therefore depicted most frequently.
The Blessed Mother Mary is another significant character, depicted as the Queen of Heaven, the mother of the world ruler or as the mourning mother in the form of a pieta.
Saints and holy helpers lived exemplary lives of faithfulness, had a secure place in heaven and were therefore called upon as mediators between God and man.