Monday, August 6, 2007

Dedication of an altar

Dedicating an altar is a big deal. It's there that ordinary bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In a very real way, an altar is where heaven and earth meet. There's a reason why the altar is the focal point of a church building.
The people of the little town of Waumandee, near Arcadia, Wis., knew that. The dedication of their altar by Bishop Jerome Listecki last Saturday evening was the crowning event of serveral years of renovation at St. Boniface Parish.
I was at St. Boniface to cover the event for the Catholic Times. I was struck by the beauty of their parish renovation. The majesty of the original church interior really does shine anew. And I was especially struck by what their pastor, Father Michael Klos, said about the renovation after Mass. In his comments, he mentioned that the church was already due for a renovation 30 years ago, but when they were told they would have to get rid of their side altars, they "dug in their heels and said we'll just paint it." Now, 30 years later, the climate has changed -- under Father Klos the side altars not only remained but spires were added to their tops as was the case many, many years before. As Father Klos put it, this could better be called a restoration than a renovation. And this beloved pastor received no less than a standing ovation as he emotionally left the ambo.
Below you'll find some of the photos I took -- something space limitations in the paper would keep from ever seeing the light of day. I can't help but want to share this work of the good people of Waumandee with you!

First Bishop Listecki of the Diocese of La Crosse preaches to the flock:
Then the prayer begins:
The bishop removes his chausible:
And then the apron goes on...
A prayer is said over the Sacred Chrism:
And the Chrism is poured over the altar:
The bishop then rubs the Chrism over every inch of the altar's surface:
Incense goes in:
Incense rises for the first time:
And the bishop proceeds with the thurible:
The light of Christ is ignited for the first time, noticeably on both the high altar and the new altar:
The people's gifts are given:
And the one true sacrifices is re-presented upon the altar for the very first time:
St. Boniface's pastor, Father Michael Klos, concelebrates with the bishop:


Anonymous said...

The part of the dedication that they probably wouldn't allow you to see: church law requires that a solemn rite be performed in which relics are placed within a small cavity at the front of every non-movable altar. This cavity is called the sepulcher, and canon law states that it must contain relics such as a finger bone, a tongue, or some dried blood in a glass vial. These must be of such size that they can be easily recognized as human body parts and have been officially authenticated by the Church as having come from the cadaver of a Catholic martyr or saint. The altar stone covers the sepulcher and constitutes the "altar proper" the spot where the bread and wine are to be placed during the Sacrifice of the Mass."

Anonymous said...

I wonder what parts of Pope JPII and Mother Teresa were kept...