Altering altars for the Lord. Yet another epic “Day Off” for the greater honor and glory of God.

Remember the successful conflagration of the (to say the least) inappropriate altar we had up at the parish church?

Remember how we put in a new floor, a new way to secure the tabernacle, altar rails, a new altar base, a new granite altar top?

Well, finally, I’ve hunted down a spiral saw and a handful of diamond bits, made up some rails to control depth and alignment and then set up hacking into the granite, granite dust everywhere.

The saw was dragged over the surface of the altar from the marker-lines to the end of the top rails, little by little, deeper and deeper:

Here’s the first cut that was made. Not bad if I do say so myself, never having done such a thing in my life.

Not easy, as the spiral saw must be held with both hands before starting it as it will want to torque right out of your hands. No injuries. Thanks Saint Michael! Thanks Guardian Angel!

Such a cut was repeated at each corner of the altar, and then cross-beam cuts were made to create crosses. A fifth cross has to be engraved in the middle-middle.

One of our TLM servers said the easy way to mark the center is to cross a string diagonally across the altar, tape that down, repeat the other direction. X marks the spot for the cross.

Then the “sepulcher” has to be excavated into the altar (along with a capstone, to be made of local shale) where the priest kisses the altar. This is where the relics of at least two saints, at least one being a martyr, are to be secured.

These are all prerequisite preparations to the consecration of the altar with the sacred chrism. Previous to that consecration, some exact measurements need to be made and sent off to an expert in making altar cloths out of linin. There’s a permanent drenched-with-wax altar cloth just the size of the top. Over that goes another the same size, also permanent, which will stick on its own to the waxed cloth below, the top having no trace of the wax. Over that goes an altar cloth that just about touches the floor to both sides.


Filed under Liturgy

8 responses to “Altering altars for the Lord. Yet another epic “Day Off” for the greater honor and glory of God.

  1. sanfelipe007

    Nancyv and Aussie Mum said it all. I echo them.

  2. nancyv

    How exciting. Ps 139…fearfully and wonderfully made..

  3. Aussie Mum

    Re: “granite dust everywhere”
    Father, granite dust is dangerous if inhaled because of the silica particles released. “These dust particles are 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, so we’re unable to detect them with the naked eye and might not even know or think much of breathing them in. However, inhaling silica dust, even in small amounts can have very serious health consequences, increasing your risk of developing lung damage, cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease each time it’s inhaled.” I
    Your exposure and that of any helpers will only be short term; nevertheless, it may still cause some health issues. Please be careful.

  4. Joisy Goil

    Will your Bishop come to consecrate (or is is bless?) your altar, or are you permitted to do that ritual?

    Our Bishop blessed the altar at a neighboring parish several years ago. The ritual was very impressive. We expected he would say a few prayers and sprinkle some holy water, but it was very beautiful and pious ceremony much to our surprise and delight.

    God bless you Father George.

    • Father George David Byers

      He might come or he may delegate me. Either way, that’s still way in the future.

  5. Gina Nakagawa

    In this present state of Holy Mother Church, thank you for your courage, Father.

  6. sanfelipe007

    ” This is where the relics of at least two saints, at least one being a martyr, are to be secured.”

    Child-like question: If you, Father were declared a Saint, could your relic become part of an Alter you helped to build? Has this situation already occurred? My money would be on St. Francis of Assisi since he literally re-built a church.

    • Father George David Byers

      Is Padre Pio under an altar? As far me, I’ll certainly be under an Alter! Ha!

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