New altar dedicated at St. Aloysius Church in Hickory
HICKORY — On Sept. 13, parishioners of St. Aloysius Church in Hickory celebrated as the altar in their church was consecrated by Bishop Peter J. Jugis during a special Mass.
The Mass was concelebrated by Father Bob Ferris, pastor, and Father Gabriel Carvajal-Salazar, parochial vicar.
The altar in the main church had separated at its joints over the years, so Joe Lamonica, the new chairperson of the parish's maintenance committee, offered to do the necessary repairs. The body of the altar is completely new, hence the need for the dedication. Also new to the church is an altar of repose, on which the tabernacle sits, and an ambry, which secures the holy oils.
During the Mass, three relics which had been given to the parish – pieces of clothing from St. Boniface, St. Thomas à Becket, and St. Josaphat – were placed into a hidden compartment of the altar by Bishop Jugis. Before Mass, parishioners were able to view the relics on display in a reliquary before the relics were sealed permanently into the altar.
St. Boniface (680-754) fought against idolatry of the pagans, turning their hearts toward Christianity. His feast day is June 5. St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170) stood firm in defense of truth and right, even at the cost of his life by his good friend King Henry II. His feast day is Dec. 29. St. Josaphat (1584-1623) spent his life uniting all faiths to one Church, to one Body in Christ. His feast day is Nov. 12.
The Rite of Dedication of an Altar is different than an ordinary Mass in a few ways. First, the altar was left bare until the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And in place of the Penitential Act, Bishop Jugis sprinkled the altar and the congregation with newly-blessed holy water to remind us that we became members of the body of Christ at our baptism. During the homily, the bishop explained the readings, picked specifically for the occasion, and the meaning of the dedication of the new altar.
After Ryan Ostrander, director of the parish's music ministry, led the choir and congregation in chanting the Litany of the Saints, the relics were placed inside the altar by the bishop. To accomplish this, Lamonica and Jim Rand carefully lifted the top of the altar, sliding it to one side to open a cavity that would house the relics. This rite is meant to signify that all who have been baptized in the death of Christ, especially those who shed their blood for the Lord, share in Christ's Passion.
Then the Prayer of Dedication was sung by Bishop Jugis as a sign of the intention to dedicate the altar to the Lord for all times and a petition for His blessing. Christ made holy the table where the community would come to celebrate the Passover. The altar sits at the center of our worship, where we encounter God in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
The subsequent anointing, incensing, covering and lighting of the altar expressed in visible signs aspects of the invisible work that the Lord accomplishes through the Church in its celebration of the divine mysteries, especially the Eucharist.
With the help of Deacons Tom Rasmussen and Ron Caplette, Bishop Jugis anointed the altar with chrism using his bare hands, to honor the Anointed One chosen by the Father and constituted the High Priest so that on the altar of His body He might offer the sacrifice of His life for the salvation of all. Chrism is also used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the ordination of priests and bishops.
Incense was then burned on the altar to signify that Christ's sacrifice ascends to God as an odor of sweetness as our prayers rise up pleasingly to God. The deacons then incensed the concelebrants and the congregation.
The altar was then covered with a cloth and lit with candles before the Mass continued with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice achieved the end for which the altar was erected. The table was transformed, made holy when it received the Body of Christ.
After the Mass, Father Ferris thanked all the participants who helped plan the celebration and he presented a gift basket to Bishop Jugis with items purchased from the Trappist monks of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Ky.
Parishioners then processed across Ninth Avenue for the blessing of the parish's one-year-old Immaculate Heart of Mary Eucharistic Adoration Chapel by Bishop Jugis. The Perpetual Adoration Chapel has been a place of unceasing prayer by parishioners for their families, the Church, and their town, state, country and world since it was dedicated a little more than a year ago.
— Nika Werner, correspondent. Photos by Carol Rasmussen
Read more about the opening of St. Aloysius' Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy