Tag Archives: Altar Rails

Catheads n Soppins n Sanctuary Renovation

  • 6:00 am text: You got ten minutes to get to church.
  • 6:01 am text: 11
  • 6:02 am text: k

After plotting how to continue with the sanctuary renovation, specifically with security of the tabernacle, after noting how great the altar progress and Communion rail progress is going (though one rail broke but that’ll maybe be taken care of by Saturday morning), we raced off to Grandpa Charlie’s for some breakfast.

Catheads n soppins are bisquits and pepper gravy. Great omelet as well. The Mud Coffee was spectacular. [I’ve done my USCCB alternative penance for Fridays first thing this morning.] Here’s some pics of the sanctuary renovation:

We’re taking it slow. There’s much more to be done for both. The altar, for instance, needs some crosses and a sepulcher for relics, plus the marble pillars to either side (we have those) and some kind of art work for the middle, and needs the consecration rites with the Sacred Chrism. SLOWLY. We wanna do it right.

We will surely have appropriate pictures for the diocesan newspaper (they’ve been chomping at the bit) when we do the consecration. That’ll take time. SLOWLY.

By the way, about the Catheads n Soppins above. Here’s the deal: plotting out progress on such projects is an ongoing process necessitating lots of sit-downs, and can’t be put in architectural drawings forced onto unknown situations regarding the structure of the building, especially considering limited funds in the tiniest parish in North America. It has to be done detail by detail over months and months, and months and months…

There are those with unlimited resources who can force restructuring of entire buildings and don’t understand this SLOWLY-method at all. They are the kind who buy a new vehicle when a hubcap pops off. They can afford it, and they don’t care. But when you have shoestring budgets, this is how you do things.

I remember a church project somewhere in the world that we got done for 10,000 thousand dollars when the recommendations by the those with unlimited resources wanted to spend 600,000.00 bucks. Yep. And we did it ten times better. But the way which involves the parishioners as a parish family – always the way to go – involves Catheads and Soppins. I love that. Parishes are about Jesus and parishioners, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to more Catheads n Soppins. :-)

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Altar Rails aka Communion Rails installation has begun! How to:

Our craftsmen arrived from Brevard before lunch. Let’s see some progress. A threaded pipe… Interesting. How’ll that work?

The end posts of the altar rails slide over the pipes and are then capped on their threaded tops:

The we placed the cap across the lengths of the rails:

But that picture is unfair, as we do not yet have the granite inserts, 4 inches by 10 feet each. They are due to be delivered later this evening. The design boasts of bevelled pillars thinner at the top than the bottom as one might find in ancient Rome. The simplicity, strength, appropriateness is stunning. I’m very pleased altogether.

The actual altar top is also set to be delivered this evening. It will be less deep front to back, but longer side to side. , which itself will be less “deep” but longer side to side. It may not look like it in this picture but a priest will be able to offer Holy Mass from either side of the altar as per diocesan regulations. No problem. The altar is also far from finished. It will take quite a bit of logistical arranging to engrave the crosses and the “sepulcher” for relics and get ready for the consecration. We’ll have to get some hand made altar linins from Connecticut for the first waxed cloth, another to protect that (both of those the same size as the top of the altar only) and then other fuller cloths that will drape slightly over the edges and can be changed out for the liturgical seasons. To either side of the two pillars on the front of the altar there will solid marble stones with engraved crosses (those have a story about which I now have more details). That will frame the center of the altar. I’m thinking about perhaps putting a mosaic or a carving of the Last Supper. We will see.

The granite for the “altar of repose” as it is somehow called, will also be delivered later this evening. Obviously, we’re not ready to install that yet, so we still have no tabernacle in place. That will take quite a while, as security is paramount.

All the granite for all the pieces was cut from the same slab from Brazil.

We’re going to be creating two lecturns and a credenza.

Some notes:

  • None of the monies for this project came from the parish. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There were plenty of anonymous donations. Most of the money came from out-of-state. All of it was in the form of restricted donations. It all just started pouring in. The angels were at work.
  • Some will immediately notice the candle sticks on the altar, that they are the “wrong side.” Whatever. If someone comes to the parish and wants to offer Holy Mass against the people (versus populum!) the candlesticks take seconds to more from one side to the other. Easy.
  • Some will immediately notice the crucifix on the altar besides the crucifix that will top the tabernacle. Yes, well, that crucifix on the altar of Sacrifice (by the way) is actually hidden by altar cards when we’re offering the Sacred Mysteries by making use of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

The diocesan newspaper has been chomping at the bit to put up some pictures. These are not them. I want to wait until the fullness of the work has been wrought. Sorry! This is just a progress report.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Poison Eastern Lenten Roses, non-poisonous Ad orientem Altar-Rails, ed.)

Not sure, but this might be a buttercup. If it’s an Eastern Lenten Rose, all parts of this plant are poisonous. It’s to be found here in North America at an old friend’s house some hundreds of miles round trip on the “Day Off”. There’s no fear in that house of poisonous plants. They’re happy to have them there for their beauty. Our Lady is also fearless. All she ever saw outside of her Son was poison. She just prayed for us to be close to her Son. There’s no fear of the fear-demic at that house. We shouldn’t have any fear even to die and… and… go to heaven. Speaking of heaven…

While there, I had a long chat with another old friend, an extremely capable wood worker, who wants to get a move-on regarding the Altar Rails I mentioned to him months ago. I haven’t been there in a while. Lots of things happening. We chose the wood appropriate to the rails. We talked about the balustrade. We talked about installation, construction, and the next steps I need to do, as in taking pictures, getting exact measurements. That’s a non-poison flower for the Immaculate Conception.

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Installing Altar Rails for ease in the normal manner of receiving Holy Communion, Christ our God

I snapped this picture in the Upper Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, above the grotto in Lourdes, after assisting soon to be Cardinal Burke with logistics for Holy Mass. That’s when I was the first “Latin Mass” chaplain in Lourdes in time times of Summorum Pontificum.

For the installation of altar rails, step one is to get permission from the one-man liturgical committee of the Diocese. His office is closed today. Alas. Soon, though.

Step two is to get plans for the best way to go about the construction given that the revamped floor was not made for this after the high altar and such had been viciously ripped out in decades gone by.

A gentleman is volunteering to turn some pillars for us, you know, with swirls, not easy. A real craftsman.

Another gentleman is volunteering to make a base and a top for us. A retired cabinet maker.

I’m looking for measurements of the usual height of an altar rail, etc., whether that measurement includes adjustments for pads on which to kneel, etc.

Is there possible a reader who has plans stored away in an archive closet of a church or Cathedral, say, in Madison, say, in Birmingham, say, in Chattanooga, say, in one of our great parishes in Charlotte Diocese? I would appreciate this help very much, as would Jesus’ little flock, as would Jesus.

Right now we have a “kneeler” where most parishioners kneel, one after the other, but we gotta have something more solid for those who need to push off in order to get back up. No one has to kneel. We can all have knee problems any time in our lives. But in this parish, people love to kneel if they can. They are anxious to get this project underway and completed. I’m sick of reverence for Jesus being shunned like a mortal sin, so that people in mortal sin think nothing of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Get it? A vicious circle.

Sometimes people complain about the installation of altar rails. Over the decades, around the world, that amounts to just a few. So, my response is that, oh! altar rails are just a bit of mercy for the handicapped, right? That’s the excuse I give to people who are just so very afraid that this might be about kneeling before the Son of the Living God who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. But then they see that I am being sarcastic with them. It’s about mercy, sure. But it’s also about proper reverence before Divine Son of Immaculate Mary. The facial expressions are priceless. Lesson taken. :-) But, I ask, why is it that one mere inquiry sets ecclesiastics running in fear and cowardice, agreeing even out of character that it’s just so very true that we cannot at any cost be reverent before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I have much more to say about this, and a recent comment by a reader, which I didn’t let through, as I want to put it up in a post on it’s own. It’s about Covid and kneeling. Great! It might be another day or two. We’ll see. Right now, I gotta be out in the pasture with Jesus’ little flock.

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