Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Quid est?

This is a restored decoration over the front door of one of my two parishes, Saint Bernadette.  I had it redone for the 50th anniversary of the church in 2004. The original had been ruined by weather over the years and then taken down and the plain wood background painted white. A parishioner's husband duplicated this symbol from a photo of the original going back to 1954.

No one seems to know what the symbol means, however.  I asked Bishop Lohmuller and Cardinal Keeler, the founding pastors, and they could not remember. The blue waves at the bottom could be the water of Lourdes since the church has always been called Saint Bernadette and was formerly a mission of Our Lady of Lourdes before becoming a mission of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

The harp and two incensers, however, are still a mystery. Obviously, the dove is the Holy Ghost. Anyone got any hypotheses?


dmwallace said...

Father: I have seen the harp/censor motif elsewhere in missal line-art. I think it refers to the Psalter of David. The harp is a symbol for David and the censors reminding of us the line from Ps 140:2 (Vulg.): "dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum."

We are reminded too of the twenty four elders in Rev 5:8 who fall down before the Lamb, each one having a harp and a bowl of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

If you'd like, I can email you a scan of the line-art in question.

Baron Korf said...

Well that stringed instrument makes me think of David and the psalms, and having the strings supported by a cross is a bonus. But as for a definitive interpretation, I am at a loss.

Padre Giovanni Trigilio said...

You can email me at


Rita said...

Father, this is how I see it. Sadly, I see no blindingly obvious link to St Bernadette.

Could the harp, incense and cross together represent the "sacrifice of praise" from Hebrews 13?

They are covering the waters of sin and leading to the greater glory of God.

Anonymous said...

The Holy Spirit is the soul and the inspirer of the sacred Liturgy, which is represented by the Harp and the censers, and the cross superimposed over the harp represents the sacrifice of Christ.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it refers to St Ephrem the Marian Doctor aka the Lyre of the Holy Spirit?


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