This has been a busy week -- hence no blogging.
On Sunday afternoon, we will have a special, Solemn Mass with Archbishop Pilarczyk to consecrate a new altar. This Mass -- and the dinner following -- serves to commemorate our parish's 150th Anniversary.
The parish was founded July 3, 1855, but I had just arrived, so I wasn't able to put anything together for that date. The present church was dedicated October 26, 1865 -- hence is 140 years old -- but that was a suitable anniversary, so I invited the Archbishop, and he agreed.
My original fear -- that we might not attract a full house -- has turned into something very different: we expect at least 500 people, which will fill every seat in church, and be more people in the Caserta Center for dinner than we've ever had.
The new altar angle is interesting.
Our parish has a very nice wooden altar, made by a parishioner. But I was thinking, as I looked at it back in July (when I got here), that it would be nice if there were stone involved -- stone being preferred material for an altar -- and it would be nice if, after our celebration of the anniversary, there were some permanent memento of the occasion.
Then came the idea: what if we cut a piece of marble to be just larger than the existing altar, and made it the new surface of the altar?
Well, everything checked out. I guessed it might cost several thousand dollars -- instead, less than a thousand. A stone company in Dayton had a beautiful slab in stock and could cut it in about 10 days. Everyone I consulted in the parish was positive about the idea. (Yes, I did ask for advice on whether the existing altar would support the stone -- and the floor beneath, as well!)
Would our Worship Office sign off? Would the Archbishop say this was "kosher"? Yes and yes.
So, in a few minutes, I'm walking over to our parish hall to help set up the tables for the dinner. I'm sure there will be any number of last-minute things to attend to. And tomorrow will be crazy. But Monday is a day off, not only for me, but for the staff members who have worked really hard on this, as well.