The Baldacchino

The great bronze baldacchino, Italian for canopy, provides a suitable visual center for the celebration of the Eucharist. Supported in front on two bronze columns the rear of the canopy rests on marble pilasters that form an integral part of the altar wall. The spaces along the side of the arches are decorated with medallions suitable to representing the Eucharist and our salvation. On the left side of the front the medallion shows birds plucking at grapes, symbolic of the soul’s thirst for eternal life, on the right side of the front the medallion shows the ship of the church in which the faithful may safely navigate the waters of life. On the 82nd Street side the medallions show an anchor and fishes. On the 83rd Street side may be found the Holy Spirit and loaves of bread. Above, the baldacchino transforms into an octagonal shape leading to a tent like roof crowned by a cross.