Fr. David Ousley writes:
Moving the Altar
The marble high altar has now been moved back to the east wall, which will better provide for our iturgical needs. Luigi Bracaliello, who does most of the church marble work in Philadelphia and South Jersey, did a splendid job. Moving it required complete disassembly, and then reassembling and cementing together all the pieces in the original location. Particularly note-worthy is his work on the tabernacle. We found several pieces of the old tabernacle in the church attic. He figured out how these fit together, and supplied new pieces to complete the tabernacle. I think you will agree that it is a splendid addition to the church. Bruno and Eileen Dantas have generously offered to donate the work as a thank-offering for their children. Thanks!
You may have noticed that one of the stained glass windows is missing (over the south door near the Lady altar). This is one of the items which Sacred Heart, the merged parish which includes Our Lady of Mount Carmel, wished to retain as part of the heritage of Mount Carmel. We want to replace it with something similar to the other windows in the church, which were all done in a consistent style by the same studio at the time the upper church was built. We thought we had it solved, when we found a window from a closed church by that maker in that style, same shape, though slightly smaller than the opening – seemed perfect. Then we discovered that it is exactly the same figure (the Holy Savior) which is in the larger window next to it.
Back to the drawing board. Joseph Beyer, the artist who so ably repaired the badly damaged window at St James the Less, has now come up with a picture of another window (same studio and style) which has now been lost. He can recreate with window with appropriate adaptations, as a window of our Patron, St John the Baptist. We are proceeding with this plan, and David Rawson has offered to donate the window, so there will be no cost to the parish. Our thanks goes both to David for his generosity, and to Joe Beyer for his diligent research and creative and artistic abilities.
We seem to be settling well into our new Sunday routine in Bridgeport, except when it snows. The Bridgeport rectory has now been cleaned out and work begun on the few things we want to do before we move. We are on track to move at the beginning of March, if things go as planned. Please be understanding – during the move, the phone may not be connected, weekday Masses will be omitted at least for a few days, the March POP
may be late, etc. Notwithstanding, I’m looking forward to being in Bridgeport – and living at our church.
I’m planning to resume adult classes during coffee hour after Easter. During these first few months of the merger, it seems more important to allow “social” time after Mass, so we can get to know one another, and get used to the new routines. This goes for me, perhaps even more than for everyone else.
There will be a general congregational meeting on the Third Sunday in Lent, February 28th, to go over the parish financial situation. We will present the budget for the combined parish, along with the current state of the Building Fund. All parishioners are encouraged to attend.
The Lenten Quiet Day will be in Bridgeport on March 12th. It will follow the usual format, and we should be much more comfortable in our own space. More details next month. …
Bishop Lopes has scheduled his first visit to St John the Baptist for the Third Sunday of Easter, April 10th. More details will be forthcoming, but please mark your calendars now. He will be with us for Mass at our usual 10 a.m. time. The Evensong I mentioned last month will, unfortunately, not be possible, due to a conflict in his schedule which requires him to leave Sunday afternoon.
Much of our attention these days is (quite reasonably) focused on our new property, on our new life as St John the Baptist Catholic Church, and on Lent. I would suggest that we also begin thinking about outreach and service. With a settled location, we can now plan for ways in which we can serve the Kingdom of God in this particular place. Please be praying and thinking about this, and as ideas occur to you, please share them. We are never Christians for ourselves alone. We have a mission, and Bishop Lopes reminded us in his comments after his consecration. The Holy Father’s words to him are also for us: Avanti! Go forth!
Fr David Ousley