Friday, August 17, 2012

Transformation of a Sanctuary

I went “over the rainbow” for the Feast of the Assumption. That means I was able to experience an EF Mass for Our Lady, complete with the blessing of herbs prior to Mass.

The Mass was held in a little “mission” church where the sanctuary generally looks like this:

Sadly, the altar was even centered before anti-EF forces
bolted it to the floor so that it couldn't be moved to
accommodate ad orientem celebration of Mass.
This could be just about any mission church in our diocese, I think! They all seem to have the same general motif, with an altar that has “1970’s” written all over it. 

For an EF Mass, we transformed the sanctuary into something a little more appropriate. When the time arrived for Mass, the sanctuary looked like this:

Is there any doubt about which arrangement looks more regal? Is there any doubt that the transformation adds a sense of reverence and awe that is completely lacking in the “normal” set-up? Is there any doubt that Something Very Special is going to happen at that transformed altar?

The thing is, it could look like this every day of the year. Having a tastefully appointed sanctuary should be something to strive for in the Novus Ordo just as much as in the Extraordinary Form, shouldn’t it? Why do parish “decoration” committees seem to think the church must look like a kindergarten class room?! We’re talking about the temple of the Lord here!

Just about any parish could accomplish what is pictured above, and the cost is minimal. It is really not that difficult to make an antependium like the one we used; and while the fabric might come at a high price per yard, if the parish seamstresses are convinced to undertake the project, the cost can be kept to a hundred dollars.  Matching mini-antependia for ambos can be created at a minimal cost, too. Even very majestic-looking candlesticks can be acquired at much less than you might expect. The secret? Buy those decorative resin candlesticks that are meant to hold a large (3"-4" diameter) votive candle, and paint them with gold spray paint. There are various ways to adapt them to accommodate a 3/4" diameter candle.

Sigh. I think the typical parish sanctuary in our diocese looks childish and cheap. Why do we do that to Our Lord and Savior?

1 comment:

Please be courteous and concise.