Baltimore Basilica's Adoration Chapel Tabernacle by Granda

On a recent visit to the historic Baltimore Basilica I found myself pleasantly surprised when I stumbled into what has been transformed into a perpetual adoration chapel in the basement crypt or undercroft of the Basilica. In fact, the experience was deeply moving as my heart sang with joy to see such a hidden little gem aglow amidst a bustling inner-city. The gold-plated tabernacle is by our good friends at Granda

The altar, small and beautiful, matches well the Roman and Colonial Neoclassical style of the Basilica, with Baroque and American elements, including columns and pilasters with decorated capitals. A small dome covers the tabernacle, with a Gothic-inspired arch revealing the extent of inner mosaic work in sky blue. A small retable has simple panels, a background to fireproof candles on a small gradine.  The altar mensa is a slab of polished marble, awaiting proper linen altar cloths.  

In front of the altar is a historic prie-dieu, the same used for the papal apostolic visit in 1995 when Pope St. John Paul II entered the upstairs sanctuary and knelt for a brief moment of prayer. That date was Oct. 8, 1995. A first-class relic of the saint is today kept in the top of the kneeler for all to venerate, taken from his hair. The same kneeler may also have been used by Cardinal Pacelli when he visited the upper Basilica during a brief stop in 1936. 

The luna is in the form of a sun-burst with a ring of colorful hand-made enamelwork. The inside of the door depicts an engraved image of an angel kneeling in adoration. The exterior of the door, not visible when the door is open (see below), displays a custom-made and truly profound image of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Mary is depicted holding Christ, while He holds aloft the Blessed Sacrament in the form of a chalice and host.  

Below can be seen details of the ciborium, with its unique design, shape, and inner lighting. 

Engraved on the base of of the tabernacle is the episcopal motto adopted by Pope John Paul II when he was made bishop at age 38 in 1958: TOTUS TUUS ("Totally Yours"). This quote is in reference to the words of St. Louis Marie de Montfort's prayer to Our Lady in his monumental work, True Devotion to Mary

Within that great work the saint writes: “Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt”—“I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.” With these words, St. Louis de Montfort not only expresses his love for Mary but his desire to belong completely to God like her and with her. He believed that Marian consecration is “the most perfect of all devotions” because it "conforms, unites, and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ” (cf. True Devotion to Mary).

God bless and reward the wonderful coordinators and volunteer adorers who gather here around-the-clock - at great sacrifice - in a bustling urban city. Since the adoration chapel was inaugurated in 2021, every week over 280 people visit here to pray a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Adorers are present 24/7 praying in this sacred spot for the Church and City of Baltimore, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is powerful. May God be praised now and forever.  


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