Liturgical Design > Project: Tabernacle Mural - St. Dominic's Catholic Church, Benicia CA

In 2023, I was commissioned by Fr Carl Schlichte O.P. pastor at Saint Dominic’s Catholic Church in Benicia, CA (the first Dominican Church in California) to create a painting for around the most sacred tabernacle. We developed the theme of the ‘Descent of the Holy Spirit, surrounded by seven angels’ referring to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and based on the traditional style of the artist Blessed Fra Angelico. Fra Angelico was one of the most important early Renaissance sacred artists, and was also a Dominican friar. In the painting, the angelic cry of ‘Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus!’ is inscribed in latin around the border, and all the halos and accoutrements are leafed with 24 ct gold.

The tabernacle is an important central element in Catholic Churches, and it is the container for the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the consecrated bread and is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, making the tabernacle the ‘throne of Christ.’ It is an incredible honor and privilege for an artist to create a liturgical adornment for such a place. It was ritually blessed on Saturday July 22, with the congregation, many Dominican friars, and the donors all in attendance.

Fr. Gregory Liu, O.P., the Associate Pastor at St Dominic's Benicia, wrote:

“What is the significance of depicting angels around the tabernacle?…Whenever we participate at a Mass, at every church in every part of the world, while still on Earth, we are mystically transported to heaven. We are truly in the presence of the living God, joining ranks and ranks of angels in worship. By extension, a tabernacle, in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and safeguarded, is none other than the throne of God, since the Blessed Sacrament is the true presence of Jesus Christ, second person of the Holy Trinity. In faith, we can understand that at every tabernacle, there are also myriads of angels worshiping Jesus Christ both day and night. May this newest adornment of our beautiful church serve to remind us, whether we are praying quietly in front of the tabernacle or worshiping God at Mass, we are never alone. Rather, we are accompanied by thousands of angels praising God in unison”.