The blessing of the altar railing will be at the Extraordinary Form High Mass for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, Sunday, January 4th, 2015 AD at 2:00 PM!
For the most part, the altar railing, aka, Communion railing, is installed but not completely. The center gates and side gates have not arrived and will be installed shortly. The restoration of this railing uses a goodly amount of the original altar railing installed in 1903 with new pieces added and is in fact longer than the original which went between the main sanctuary and side chapels which you can see in this photo from the 1990's and below it shortly after 1903:
Most people, meaning liturgists, who are less pliable than terrorists, ripped out altar railings because they proclaimed an ideology that it was like a "fence" fencing the altar off from the downtrodden laity. It was a barrier to the laity and made it look like that the sanctuary was more important than the nave and blah, blah, blah, blah!
The altar railing is in actuality not only a demarcation for the sanctuary or presbyterium, as is an elevated floor, but it is more importantly an extension of the altar itself, the table from which the laity are given and they receive the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Risen Lord who sacrificed His life in love for us poor miserable sinners on the Holy Cross. It beckons the lay communicant to come forward humbly and purged of sin to receive our Lord into their soul whereby Jesus Christ the Crucified and Risen Lord makes them a part of Him in the Mystery of this heavenly Nourishment of Holy Communion.
We still await the gates and the kneeling pad that will run the full length of the railing.
It is great, but I hope the mindset and protocols that go with the altar railing return, as well, otherwise it is just a quaint decoration with some aesthetic appeal…sort of like the "progressive" Catholics see the TLM.
The altar rail looks beautiful. Father, you just have to get rid of that freestanding altar then the church would be perfect.
Actually, you are lucky with your bishop. A few years ago the archdiocese of Westminster ruled that when rails have been removed they must not be reinstated. The 'spirit of V2' still holds sway even in London where good choirs and Latin Masses abound.
I'll let you tell that to the living donor who gave the altar in memory of his parents and cost $30,000 and is marble from Cararra and Poland (rose)!
If a freestanding altar is set up properly (i.e., six candles, an altar cross, ad orientem, etc.) it can actually work well with an established high altar. My parish has that arrangement, and it seems ok. I would agree, however, that just one altar up against the apse is the ideal.
Just beautiful. I always love seeing a good restoration. Great work, Father.
Praise God! May every Roman Catholic church have altar rails once again!
I notice an American flag in the sanctuary...where is the Vatican flag hiding? ;)
We are Catholics before we are 'Muricans.
The Vatican Flag is normally on the right side of the church by the Blessed Mother's Chapel, however, the nativity takes that place entirely during Christmastide, so it is hidden in the decorations.
Anybody want to take odds…I'm betting the Sanctuary behind the altar rail will be full of women EMHC's, etc. I hope I am wrong, but I have no confidence in the so-called "reform of the reform." I believe Fr. fantasizes about a more traditional Church and more of a return to pre-Vat II practices (which are still allowed). But, I think he is too afraid of what the self-absorbed and bitchy members will say or that they will complain to the Bishop. This Bishop has not impressed me so far as one who will advocate for Priests in such circumstances. Prove me wrong…please.
Father, did you keep the blessing for the rails I copied to you earlier this year? As for the freestanding altar, it is a proper fixed altar of noble design and good proportions; it allows celebration in either orientation with plenty of room (as far as I can see) for solemn celebrations. What's not to like?
Happy Birthday Father McDonald!!!
The junk theology aside that was used to legitimize the Communion Rail removals, I don't know how priets/bishops and others found the courage or criminal obsession to destroy the Holy Communion railings. If I laid my hands on a holy object of that sort with the intention to throw it in the trash, I'd be looking over my shoulder waiting for the bolt of lightening to strike. A little fire and brimstone Old Testament style would have been nice to have at a few desecration events.
Who was the Pastor who had the altar rail removed?
The Vatican flag is the flag of the Vatican City State, not of the Catholic Church. I am an American but I am not a citizen on the Vatican.
Our banner is the crucifix.
Great to see everything restored :)...make sure to close the gates at the offertory when you do the OF.
On a pedantic point, unless I am remembering incorrectly, the original altar rail went across the side chapels as well. It certainly looks like that in the photos
How did the rails get removed from churches in the first place? Vatican II said bishops "must be very careful to see that sacred furnishings and works of value are not disposed of or dispersed; for they are the ornaments of the house of God" (SC 126).
Just to set matters straight, I think that now it would be appropriate to post that short video of the former (but recent)Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Arinze, wherein he challenges that anyone who can show him anything in the documents of VII that prohibits altar rails he would give them a turkey!
JBS, they either didn't read or disregarded Sacrosanctum Concilium, and kept repeating "Spirit of Vatican II!" really loudly until they got their way. I do wonder if there were any faithful Catholics that did read the document around during that time to call them on it. I imagine it was sold to rank and file Catholics as a question of obedient to the Council. If Father says that's what Vatican II says he must know what he's talking about kind of thing.
"How did the rails get removed from churches in the first place?"
I was there when this happened. Literally saw it with my own eyes. The altar, statues, and communion rails in my parish church blasted out with jackhammers.
Those of who protested, indeed most of the Catholics I knew, were forcefully and adamantly told that these changes were mandated by Vatican II, that we were bound in obedience to "accept change".
No layman I knew, and no priest I knew, had in those long pre-internet days had any access to the conciliar documents to read them for himself, nor even knew of the existence anywhere of any such documents.
Henry...who told you that the changes were mandated by Vatican II?
Was it your pastor? What was his name.
Father McDonald...what was the name of the pastor who removed the altar rail at St. Joseph's?
When my parish church was "updated", it was done after a series of open meetings to which everyone was invited. Architectural plans and artists renderings were available. It was all thoroughly explained and discussed. I imagine there were some who were not enthusiastic about it, but a consensus was achieved before any work was done.
Surely there must have been some discussions with parishioners in every church. I'd be very surprised if the pastor simply hired a guy to show up with his jackhammer....
Anonymous @ 12.16 pm,
In light of your personal anonymity, it's ironic that ask the name of a long-since-deceased pastor who with good intentions was simply repeating what he was told about the alleged mandates of Vatican II. As he and we were told by all the wandering experts and consultants who were ubiquitous in that era as evangelists of the spirit of Vatican II.
In any event, as a well-connected parish member--perennial committee denizen, parish council member, religious education chairman, etc--I recall no pre-wreckovation open meetings with architectural plans and artists renderings. Not in my parish nor in others that I knew about then. In my area, all this preceded by about 20 years the era of carefully managed open meetings and parish consensus groups that are now de rigeur.
The original Altar rails at St Joseph actually survived the immediate aftermath of the impact of the Age of Aquarius Catholic Church. They actually survived until the Church's restoration in 2005 and 2006 when the rails were removed, the new table altar installed (it replaced a cheesy table altar that was installed poste haste during the age of Aquarius)and the sanctuary was redesigned to raise the new table altar to the same level as the High Altar so as to better obscure it. The High Altar is now despairingly referred to officially as the reredos since calling it an Altar would confuse Aquarian Catholics. All of these changes were initiated under the previous Pastor (Cuddy) and approved by the previous Bishop (Boland, the one from Savannah not St Louis) but not completed until the current Pastor took over, but there was nothing that could have been done at that point. As has been pointed out, we're stuck with a table Altar because of the sensitive nature of it's donation, unless we all luck out and the Church is handed over to the FSSP for administration. In any event, Joe, I don't think the gates will be closed during the OF, unless the EMHCs will be hurdling the rails so they get to assume their special positions in the Sanctuary as the only Parishioners who do not kneel during the Angus Dei. That's because they are extraordinary after all, which means we must have some every week; not to be confused with the extraordinary form Mass, which must be rarer than an orthodox statement from Francis.
Henry...If my personal anonymity is a problem to you, I hereby give you my permission to refer to me as "Henry II"...or, even better, "HII"....like VII.
Templar, what can I say…you speak my mind. I fully expect to see EMHC's, male and female, crawling like vermin all over the Sanctuary. I wish I could just enjoy the beautiful altar rail, but I know what is coming and so it discourages me.
This is so beautiful. I hope that i may get to visit St. Joseph's one day.
So Templar (or whoever you are) am I correct to assume that the "restoration" of the church was done as the result of a conspiracy by the two hippie, VII clerics, Cuddy and Boland
without involvement or approval of the parishioners?
(Henry...In the future I will try to be more respectful, now that I have learned what a "well connected" , high ranking parishioner you are...)
Gene and Templar need to Google about altar rails. They're not like fences to keep God in or to keep women out.
I think I missed the part in the Bible about Jesus liking to stay behind fences so people couldn't get too close.
Tevye, You miss the point completely, as usual. The rail is a limit, not a fence. The altar rail separates the Sanctuary (the holiest place in the Church) from the rest of the church. It is, in places, separated by a curtain of some sort, as well. It is Biblical and traditional that women not be allowed in the Sanctuary (the Priesthood being limited to males). In this age of politically correct nonsense and spineless Church leaders, we have caved to the whining and petulant demands of liberals and women. This is most unfortunate, but that is where we are right now.
Regarding limits, Jesus set many limits through his teachings and behavior. Of course you, being a liberal, kick and scream against any limit to whatever self-indulgent behavior in which you choose to pursue. If you like women in the sanctuary, you should become a Methodist.
The Temple, the dignity of which Christ defended with violence, had multiple zones of restriction. Churches, especially cathedrals, are patterned after the Temple. Therefore, altar rails are perfectly in keeping with the Gospel.
When an Anonymous lacks basic logical and rhetorical skills, I suggest it's best to ignore her.
I like your term "Aquarian Catholic"!
Beautiful, I am sure that just kneeling to receive Communion will lead people to have more recollection of Who they are receiving and those that don't agree will surely attend Mass elsewhere.
Anon @ 233:
Fr MacDonald knows who I am, and can walk up to me and shake my hand after Mass. Many on the Blog can walk up to me and pick me out of a crowd. The fact that I use a moniker on the Internet does not mean I am hiding behind the wall of anonymity. I have been posting on this blog since it's very first days. All of which is to say "who I am" since you seem so concerned with it. As for the balance of your post directed at me, I made no accusations of conspiracy regarding the removal of the rails, I simply stated the facts as I understood them. if you want to read conspiracy there and conclude that Cuddy and Boland are Hippies, well that's on you.
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