Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Has it arrived yet? That was the question that was heard many times around the church on March 12, 2008. The back altar did arrive in the early afternoon on two separate trucks and in several pieces. We had heard that Andre and Sandra Bossak, the talented artists who restored the altar, were planning to stay for however long it took to get the altar put back together. Earlier in the week, two projects began in preparation for the arrival of the altar. One of the things that had to be done was to install a new tabernacle box to replace the old safe that had been in the altar previously. Two members of the Altar Society, Linda Potter and Gene Kates, had been busily making the lining for this new tabernacle box. The results are beautiful and fit for Our King. The other project was a plaque to put into the back of the altar before it was moved into place against the wall. The saying on the plaque is,
For 135 years this altar and church have been cared for by the Nativity Altar Society. In this year, major restorations have been undertaken to preserve and enhance the beauty of our church. The pews have been restored and refinished, the floors have been newly laid, the main altar restored and decorated to match the two side altars. We of the Altar Society want to offer our prayerful thanks to all who have preceded us, and to all who will succeed us in the joyful task of caring for God’s House. Holy Week 2008
It took seven or eight people to move the bottom part of the altar down the main aisle of the church and onto the sanctuary platform, which was the most difficult part of the move. Once it was in place, the Bossacks were ready to bring in the rest of the pieces and start the process of putting it all back together. There were two complicated things that had to be taken care of first. The frame that the top part of the altar had been attached to had to be removed and the area just inside of the tabernacle door had to be lined with the same beautiful material as the box. Linda and Gene once again quickly went to work and covered the area in short order, while the construction crew went about removing the frame.
Once the top part of the altar was firmly attached to the bottom part, the tabernacle box was installed. The arches were attached to the left side of the altar and then the spires were put in place. Once the left side was completed they repeated the process with the right side of the altar. It was not long after that the altar was moved back into place, taking much less time than anyone had thought it would.
While the altar was being reinstalled, two members of the Altar Society were working quickly and hard to polish the six beautiful candle sticks that go onto the back altar. They too were ready to be reinstalled after hiding in a closet for two months.
The results are beautiful! What a labor of love! The church is almost all back together. The front altar was taken to the Bossacks’ so they may work their magic on it. It should be returned in about a month.
Friday, February 15, 2008
This is priceless! Wendy found an old bulletin in Church. It's from 1967 when Fr. Ford was the pastor. Check it out...
Tuesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A picture is worth a thousand words... take a look at "There Is No Turning Back!" Those pictures were taken between last Thursday and this morning. The initial ones show the preparations for moving the temporary Altar to the O'Hare Center for daily Masses. The rest is, huh... the demolition.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A couple days ago a huge white box appeared on the altar, and Monsignor Otellini and Linda Potter did a beautiful job hiding it behind fabric. The box conceals the work being done on the floor where the old altar once was. That 3-tiered platform was removed today and work begins soon to replace it with a one-step-up platform. That will lower the altar, thus making the silver crucifix more visible (the top part of it used to disappear in the rose window). The box will be there for about 2 weeks. After the platform is finished, work on the floors should begin.
The communion rail door on the Blessed Mother side shows the color sample of what the woodwork on the rail and pew doors may look like. That sample has not been varnished and no final decision on the color has been made yet.
In case you wonder where they went.... the large silver candlesticks, the crucifix, and St. Therese and St. Aloysius are all here in the rectory. The old safe was brought to the rectory today, where it will remain.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Don’t worry; they will be back! Our two votive candle stands have not disappeared forever, just temporarily. While everything else is getting a new coat of paint or refurbished, Msgr. Otellini thought this would be the perfect time to have the candle stands refinished. They have been sent out to be powder coated. Although the color has yet to be determined, we can promise you that it will not be school bus yellow or gold from a spray can. It will be much more tasteful than that.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I wanted to create a blog but with the demands of all the work going on and of the regular office routine, there would be huge gaps between blogs. So… a sporadic blog is really not a blog…. Instead, I will write when I can (maybe once a week) to give the highlights of what’s going on with the renovations in church. This will also give you insight on life at the rectory office.
The Christmas decorations came down in a little over one hour after the last Epiphany Mass. We had a small contingent of volunteers, pastor included, who climbed, tossed, gathered, and carted everything out to the O’Hare Center. That accomplished, it was time for salad, pizza, and laughs at a very informal gathering amid garlands and red bows in the Center. The vino was provided by Monsignor Otellini.
Monday morning Mass was bittersweet. The church was BARE. No silver crucifix, candlesticks, votive candles, nothing! Just the altars and ambo were standing in the sanctuary. This was to be the last Mass with the old altar in place. When that Mass ended, a new era started.
Taking out the Main Altar (the front one) was easy. The back one was not. There was a lot of measuring and debating going on before they could lift it in one piece. As often the case with old constructions, we found a surprise! The inside of the tabernacle was an old safe, which came out only after being rammed several times by some very strong guys. “Rev. Father O’Riordan, Menlo Park CA” was handwritten on top of the safe. Father O’Riordan was pastor at Nativity from 1881 to 1899. The safe is so heavy that all were amazed it didn’t come crashing down to the floor. A temporary tabernacle has been placed on the Blessed Mother side.
Another tent was erected in the back parking lot, and both will house the pew refinishing workshop. One of the small wings of pews is already being worked on, and the pews from one of the large center rows should come out Wednesday and Thursday. The refinishers will complete the work on one side before removing the other. For Sunday Masses, folding chairs will be placed where pews are absent.
We are still ironing out the kinks. Father Davenport was the first priest to use our temporary Altar (a folding picnic table under white tablecloths) and it was too low. We contemplated putting 2x4s under, but the table needs to be moved during the day. We thought of putting casters under the 2x4s, but when the priest holds the border of the table to kneel he could potentially send the altar sliding down the aisle. Not good.
On the very rare times Monsignor Otellini prefaces his request with “I hate to ask you this…” I know it can’t be good. This time it was to check Ikea for the altar solution. So, I left for the Ikea walk-a-thon with the clouds thickening and a new storm coming. Believe it or not, they had a table with legs that could be adjusted to the height we needed. Cart in hand, I go past all departments to get to the self-service area. Have you ever seen a table with 6 or 7 leg configurations? That’s what this one had. I grabbed the frame, tabletop, and a box with 4 legs, paid for it, and headed back to Nativity with rain pouring down.
When I opened the boxes I realized I had the WRONG legs for the table. They were short and could not be adjusted. So, I trooped back to Ikea for the return/exchange. I was number 12 in line and they were serving customer number 3. When my turn came they were very nice and confirmed the legs were of the same model name, same color, but wrong. They started the transaction and… poof! All terminals went down. I couldn’t return or even just purchase the other legs. No register worked in the store. Two cups of coffee later and return processed, it was time to go back inside for the right legs. I thought I had been so brilliant when I got a box of four legs! However, the ones I needed come in singles. Who buys a single leg??
Back in church, Wendy and I assembled the table, covered it, and it was the best temporary Altar one could get. Mission accomplished.
Monsignor Otellini was pleased with the table, but bothered by the unfinished wall where the old altar stood. I could tell his mind was going a million miles an hour. He suggested we hang something to cover the mess. We have a couple unused drapes hanging in a closet in the rectory. We started with that but they were not wide enough. We draped a retired liturgical cloth in the middle of them and the whole thing looked like… er… we were trying to cover a hole (which we were!). He then had a good idea – use some of the bunting fabric that the Altar Society has in storage. The drapes came down, the bunting fabric went up, and the ends were neatly tucked in. Monsignor hung a crucifix on the wall, a bit more fabric covered the ripped carpet, and we had a presentable church!