Thursday, June 23, 2022


 The two photos posted below come from an article in the Liturgical Arts Journal. I think these are from two different times, as the first one has a rather plain altar in front of the old high altar and the second one seems to have a nicer free-standing altar, although obscured by all the flowers placed too close to it. 

And thus my point:

1. The freestanding altar is placed on the same level as the old high altar/table and thus makes it look like a single altar unit rather than an altar in front of an altar with the free-standing altar below the high altar that overwhelms the one that is actually used. (Our cathedral-basilica has that problem). 

2. But the placement of Christmas Flowers or excessively decorated liturgical seasons, in front of the free standing altar obscures the primary symbol of the sanctuary, the altar. The flowers should be used in moderation (noble simplicity, please) and never near the front of the altar. The reredos should be the flower stand and in proportion to the reredos so as not to obscure it. 

So kudos to the free standing altar (especially the newer one) being placed in such a way to make the reredos and old altar look like one unit. 

But thumbs down to all the floral decorations that overwhelm and hide the freestanding altar and the steps leading to it?

The Shrine to St. Joseph and Its Historic High Altar (Archdiocese of St. Louis)


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Tantum ergo you'e retiring!
Veneremur Hilton Head.
Et antiquum you feel sleepy...
Novo cedat stay in bed.
Praestet fides no more budgets
Sensuum to hurt your head.

Genitori no associate,
Laus no meetings to attend!
Salus, honor, end of late calls!
Sit et resting is your friend!
Procedenti you have earned it
Compar sit thus, it all ends!

Ahhhhhhhh meeeeennnnnnnn.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

So clever and so true!

rcg said...

TJM, very clever!

Thank you for your service, Fr McDonald.

I think the altar vegetation is a Christmas season photo. They look like the seasonal poinsettia arrangements so popular in American parishes.

TJM said...


I can’t take credit for Father K’s excellent valediction. Very charming

rcg said...

Oh, my! I made a mistake!!! Yes, Fr Kavanaugh, very witty!! Please accept my apologies.

ByzRus said...

Fr. MJK, you are a superstar with that!

Fr. AJM, not sure when your last day is, but, congratulations and thank you for your dedication and service over a lifetime!

ByzRus said...

Regarding the post itself, agree on all points. I do not care for flower piles on the floor. Beyond the first 5 pews, they won't be visible to the vast majority of attendees.