My Sisters in Christ,
It is hard to believe that the last time we were together was in San Diego for the 2018 Forum. And while we were overjoyed that so many of you were able to join us for the virtual Forum in November 2020, we are beyond excited to be planning an in-person event again – this time in Tampa for Forum 2022.
This month’s Forum spotlight is on the historic church where we will be celebrating mass together, gathering with clergy for reconciliation, and holding adoration of the blessed sacrament.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church was constructed in 1905 in downtown Tampa and is one of the oldest churches in the city. Care of the church and its Roman Catholic community was rendered by the Jesuits until 2005 when care transitioned to the Franciscans who run it today.
The church itself has 70 stained glass windows, but the 17 vertical windows lining the nave, anchoring each side of the transept and rimming the apse, are the most dramatic. All were made in the late 1800s by Franz Mayer Co. of Munich, Germany, which is still in business.
The Resurrection Window on the left side of the transept (the part of the church representing the arms of the cross) is a triptych, with three panels. Like the other major windows at Sacred Heart, it tells a story. The center panel presents the risen Christ, triumphant over death. He floats over the tomb, carrying a heavenly banner, his right hand raised in a benediction. An angel alights beneath him, gazing at the stunned soldiers who guarded his tomb. The two smaller panels record incidents preceding this apotheosis, one of the Virgin Mary in blue, with Mary Magdalene and Martha approaching the tomb, and the other of two soldiers fleeing as it opens.
To look at these stained glass windows is inspiring. Also inspiring are the pipes over the vestibule that are connected to the church organ. The pipes were recently refurbished and produce a beautiful sound when played.
Finally, I know many of you are curious, so I will answer the question now. Yes, there is a gift shop next to the church. We gave them our Forum dates and they are looking forward to stocking the shop with a myriad of Catholic gifts for you to peruse.
I can’t wait to see all of you in Tampa this April!
Peace and Aloha!