Since the number of expected guests was greater than the little chapel could hold, the Mass was to be held outside. I am not a fan of outdoor Masses, but this one could hardly have been any better, both because of the beauty of the liturgical elements, and because the weather cooperated.
The priest used pallets he obtained for free to build a platform to serve as the sanctuary; then he covered it with plywood, and added link-together pads on top of that for a more forgiving surface. The altar was created from cinder blocks and a discounted counter top.
I finished the dossal curtain, and refurbished the altar antependium.
Father always adds a carpet, too:
The final effect was quite pleasing:
The cost in terms of labor was high. The priest did most of the construction work himself, and I spent hours on the sewing (we had to create a cover for the altar to which the antependium could be attached, and we also needed a cover for the little cabinet that was serving as a credence table). The priest finished the outdoor work just as the last traces of sunlight were disappearing, and I was up till 2am finishing the sewing.
But it was well worth the effort. I wish more priests were willing to put that kind of effort into making the liturgical setting beautiful and reverent, as befits Our Lord, the King of the Universe!
One reason I dislike outdoor Masses is that my experience has been that something of a carnival atmosphere prevails. Indeed, even in this setting, with pious faithful who are well aware of the Real Presence, of the dignity of the altar, etc., there was some of that carnival atmosphere before Mass. In part that was due to the discussion of the need for canopies to be erected (and there was definitely a need, as the sun rose higher and it became warmer), and in part it was because it is difficult not to be distracted by the birds, the breeze, the squirrels, and even the beauty of nature. But also, when we are outside in a group, I think we all tend to feel like we're about to have a picnic (and there was an outdoor potluck afterwards!). So there was quite a bit of chit-chat going on before Mass, but once Mass began, there was barely a peep even from the babies in the congregation.
My voice was not great for singing, but prayers were answered by the arrival of a man who was willing and able to chant the propers! That made three of us in the schola, and I think it went well.
I hope you all had a magnificent Pentecost as well! I am currently enjoying the Octave which follows in the old calendar!
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!