Saturday, August 08, 2009

Deirdre digs a hole

Diedre Waddington, our architect and Peter, pictured here prepare to dig hole, in the sanctuary!

They are searching for piers, to support the steel girder construction which will form the base for our altar. It is technically not possible to put in stone foundation.

We drilled a hole in one of the legs of our existing altar and discover it was plastered breeze block, that nasty cheap cinder composite building material, not very worthy. We are going to remove the legs and make a wooden support for the mensa and use that until such time as we can afford to build a proper stone altar, I know that doesn't sound much more worthy but it is all we can do at the moment. At least wood is a natural substance.

(Canon Joe Flannagan and Fr John O'Sullivan flanking the then Bishop Bowen at the consecration of the present altar)
It seems so extraordinary that a bishop would consecrate such an altar - made out of cinder breeze block! I know that the definition of a fixed or permanent altar is simply that it is fixed or permanent, is something made out of cinder breeze block permanent? The stone mensa was consecrated but can you actually consecrate breeze block - does it work?

Mass this evening sounded strange, the absence of the lino made a real difference to the acoustic, and the Church was full of dust.


gemoftheocean said...

Yes, I suppose you *can* consecrate that ugly cinder block. In the sense that you probably can have the songs accompanied by a kazoo and banjo - but you shouldn't.

[YUTZ!!!! what simpleton opted for the cinderblock? Although, I suppose one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, unless you'd like to make an exception. If he's in heaven, he's already paid for his sins. If he's in hell, it won't make any difference, and if in purgatory, the "perp" still needs a little more time there.]]

Fr Ray Blake said...

The real reason for consecrating cinder blocks was poverty.

Pastor in Valle said...

The stranger case, Father, is your neighbouring parish, the Sacred Heart, Hove. There the parish priest, (Canon Ottley, I think) in the 1950s, spent a great deal of money and time enlarging the sanctuary, even having the intricately carved alabaster altar rails perfectly copied to extend them. The same man, in the 1960s, did the most appalling botched job of hacking away the high altar from the gradines, banging together whatever bits remained after the sledge hammers had done their job and making that do for the revised liturgy. The funny thing is that, though he could hardly have expressed his dislike more clearly, nobody made him do those alterations in the 60s: no doubt he felt it incumbent of him as the incumbent. But the contrast between his loving work ten years earlier and the bodged job that the parish has been living with since…… In my time at the Sacred Heart, a wooden mensa was added simply to give some proportion to the stump that remained. Such a shame.

dillydaydream said...

I dread to think what the cost of wreckovating perfectly good churches nationwide, indeed worldwide came to. If the "hermeneutic of continuity" had been properly applied in the 60s and 70s then they would have simply stuck to the principle - new church = new order altar design. Instead the powers-that-be went out of their way to impose cinder blocks and the like on poverty-stricken parishes. Went to churches in Malta where beautiful baroque benedictine ensembles had tacky appendages obscuring the original altars - not to mention the ubiquitous nasty mdf front fonts to one side.

gemoftheocean said...

Yes, Father. But even with poverty, I think a simple table constructed of wood would have been a better choice!

Fr Richard Biggerstaff said...

I assume the chap in purple is the MC? Who is he do you think?