This past weekend, our newly restored high altar and Mary altar were "unveiled".
(all photos may be viewed full-size by clicking on them)
The high altar has a frieze of the Last Supper on its front, which the portable novus ordo altar obscures. It was repainted by our 8th grade teacher and some of her students.
I did the best I could with my camera and the lighting in the church, but photos don't do them full justice. One thing I am going to look into is redirecting some of the sanctuary lighting to bring out the gold detail a bit more. The detail is gold-flake paint, as well as 23 K gold leaf on the cross, scrollwork, and finials of the high altar. The crucifix niche of the altar also has gold leaf in the half-dome and half-pillars. I hope you can get some idea of how beautiful they are from the photos. The monogram on the Mary altar has also been done in gold leaf.
Not only have we restored the appearance of the high altar, but we have also "restored" the high altar to use as it was intended! This past weekend, I celebrated all the Masses Ad Orientem, something that hasn't been done publicly at St. Stanislaus for 35 years or more.
During the restoration, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the Sacred Heart altar (on the right side of the church), so as to facilitate the work without the danger of irreverence to Our Lord. The Sacred Heart altar has not been restored yet (it will be done later this fall), so it provides a a point for comparison to the newly restored altars:
During the Saturday vigil Mass, after my homily, I transferred the Blessed Sacrament back to the tabernacle in the high altar. Here I am reverencing the Sacrament before the transfer:
And the reposition:
Mass continued with the Eucharistic Prayer:
And, of course, Mass concluded with the final blessing:
I have celebrated Mass ad orientem privately on many occasions, but this is the first time I have done so publicly. I have already noticed a couple of things, and I'm sure more observations will occur to me as I go forward.
I'll save those for the moment, though - I will share what insights and observations I have after I have done this some more. Which leads me to mention that I will be celebrating the Masses ad orientem again this weekend, for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
I'll have more photos up next week from those celebrations.