12 August 2016

The Consecration of the Altar

As we get closer to August 15th, we move towards the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when we celebrate many of our important parish anniversaries -- the founding of the parish thirty-three years ago, the dedication of the church and consecration of the altar, the founding of the school, and for me personally it will be the thirty-third anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood.

Here are pictures of the Dedication of the original church, and the Consecration of the High Altar. Archbishop Flores officiated on that occasion, and as plain as the building was at that time, he was genuinely surprised that our then-tiny parish was able to build a dignified temple for the worship of God. When he began his sermon he said that he needed to change his prepared text, because he had expected us to have only a multi-purpose hall at that point so early in our history, and he was going to urge us to move forward in building a proper church. He told us with kindness and generosity, "...but when I saw it, I thought it was a basilica in the woods!" From that time on, we have referred to our "basilica in the woods," remembering with great fondness the archbishop's surprise.


Praying the Litany, before the Consecration of the Altar.


The Prayer to Consecrate the Altar.


Placing the Relics of St. Thomas Becket, and Anointing the Altar stone.


The Archbishop giving his personal Rosary to be placed in the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Placing the linens on the newly-consecrated Altar.


Opening the Triptych.


Placing the crucifix and candles at the High Altar.


Celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the newly-consecrated Altar.