Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Oratory of the Holy Cross

This is the working name of my oratory that I am in the process of creating in an old 19th century outbuilding on the property. As a priest it is my desire to celebrate the Holy Eucharist daily. On the days when I am not at church I will celebrate here. It will also be used for prayer and meditation.

The building sits right behind the house and next to my art studio. It is two stories, but there is no interior access from one floor to the next. The door that you see is to the bottom, which I call "the crypt"... it has these shelves lining the sides that look are the perfect size for bodies. I use it for storage. The oratory is on the second floor, and it is accessed by a second floor door that is not in the picture. The window that you see is the only light for oratory, with the exception of holes in the wood panel siding. My altar, which is made of a "found object" box-thing, was already in the space (it had previously been used for storage and was rather full of junk). It is going to sit in front of the window - the only place for it, but the window is tall enough so only about half of it is covered. I'll keep the entrance door open when I celebrate to let enough light in.

The main challenge at this point is stabilizing the flooring, and working on the altar and appointments. The challenge is to make something rustic and country-looking, but also something dignified and early Christian - all with as absolutely little modification done to the building itself since we just rent this wonderful property. I am trying to make a faux reredos behind the altar - something that gives the feel of a reredos but isn't actually one, as I need to allow light to come through the window and can't cover it completely. I also want it to tie into the altar - which is a dark brown. The idea is to visually clean up the rough wood and framing around the window by installing some painted panels, and then make some pieces of art to go over those panels. I am also going to construct a crucifix, tabernacle and sanctuary lamp, some candlesticks, and a credence table. Eventually I'll make some kneelers. I'll post some pictures as I make progress.

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