Thursday, February 12, 2015

Letting Go

Well, I completed the Alaska Project last week, and the parish received the final shipment of antependia and tabernacle veils on Monday. 

Yesterday, they sent me a photo.

Let me backtrack a bit before I show you the photo (which is just below, so you’re probably already looking at it anyway!).

I had had some anxiety and doubts about this project from the beginning. I wanted to do it, and I was actually very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the effort to move a parish toward more traditional, appropriate vestment of the altar. I knew that it was the parish priest himself who was the impetus for the project, and that’s a good thing! But I also knew that he was leaving the parish for a new assignment and was leaving the set of antependia and veils as a sort of legacy in the hope that they would be used and would have an effect on the people.

Now, that is all well and good, but I also know that when a more traditional parish priest leaves, the more liberal people of the parish see an opportunity to re-assert their power. For instance, in a parish near us, for which I also made antependia, as soon as the pastor was transferred, the antependia disappeared. The altar has gone back to its old short, doily-like tablecloth arrangement.

I was also concerned that I could not be on-site, but would have to rely on measurements sent to me. I couldn’t try things on before making them “final” – for instance, I couldn’t put the linens on the altar and credence table to adjust the hems properly. I couldn’t demonstrate in person the correct way to attach the antependium, and show how to make little minor adjustments to correct sags and wrinkles. I did sent some illustrated instructions to help with this.

So…I received this photo:

I believe it is a huge improvement over this:

Still…the fringe is dragging on the floor, which means the antependium is not hanging properly. Pulling it up just a bit higher would alleviate that problem.  

UPDATE: The pastor of the parish sent me this photo, which I think was taken before the other one. Notice what a difference the additional candles make (at least, I think they do!):

It also looks like I made the linen cloth just a bit too long.

In the background you can see the credence table. Ideally, the credence table is covered by floor-length linen, on all sides. I sent two pieces – one to cover from side to side, and one to cover from front to back. Only the side-to-side piece is on the credence table in the photo.

The tabernacle veil looks great, though!

Even before the photo came, I had resigned myself to being a little disappointed, and I have been telling myself to just let it go. (And if you have seen the move “Frozen” and have heard the “Let It Go” song a thousand times, I apologize for using the phrase!) So I’m trying to detach my emotions (and pride) from the situation. I did suggest that they make the adjustment on the height of the antependium, and I hope I did so tactfully. I didn’t mention the credence table.

I pray the new pastor is supportive of the traditional paraments, and that they will be used to enhance the Catholic identity of this parish!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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