Renovations blessed at Holy Rosary church in Elysburg
ELYSBURG - A new altar and the recently renovated Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church was blessed Saturday during Mass.
Renovations were tailored to updated Liturgical guidelines, including installing a permanent baptismal font, centering the tabernacle and replacing a wood altar with a stone version.
The stone is a dark granite, noche azul. Flames as hot as 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit were used to bring out the depth of the stone. Five crosses are carved out representing the five wounds of Christ.
It is believed by the Very Rev. Al Sceski to be unique.
"It's perhaps the only altar like it in the world," he said.
The same stone also was used to create a new tabernacle stand and the base for the baptismal font.
Stone adorns portions of the walls and floor, along with porcelain tile and high-grade vinyl. Twenty new windows were installed, doubling the previous count. Stained glass for each window is on order and will be hung as they are received. Their depictions relate directly to the parish name.
"We now will have the 20 mysteries of the rosary," Sceski said. "Our name is Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and we really didn't have any depictions in the church."
Some accent pieces from the original church remain: the tabernacle, credence table and statues of Mary and Joseph. A new crucifix hangs above the altar with a sculpture of the body of Christ completed by the same Italian firm that made the Mary and Joseph statues.
The church re-purposed much of what had been inside the sanctuary before it was gutted. Stained glass that had been hung in the sanctuary windows was moved to windows in the parish center and elsewhere and framed with wood from the sanctuary.
With more windows and new lighting, the sanctuary is much brighter, and the use of neutral tones was intentional "so that the seasons really jump out," Sceski said: starkness of Lent, purples of Advent, bright colors of Easter and the greens and reds of Christmas.
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church has about 2,000 members, Sceski said. Their average age is 40, he said, and there are about 200 school-age children who belong. The congregation was especially supportive of the renovation. Items like the altar, chairs, a cross and more were all memorialized by church members for loved ones, he said.
The church is at 599 W. Center St. Information can be found at www.qmhr.net or by calling 672-2302.