Our new parish church is a treat for the eyes and a balm for the spirit. This photo shows one of the new Stations of the Cross. The paintings were acquired from another parish that had closed. The frames were designed and constructed here in Kansas City.
Mass at the Oratory for All Saints Day is at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The church parking lot is available to us on Saturdays.
Monsignor Bradley Offutt is one of the most perceptive and spiritual priests of the Church we have ever met. And he is also one of the smartest. Monsignor Offutt, who is now the Chancellor of the Diocese, was a parish priest and pastor for many years and was involved in the building of two different churches from the ground up.
This practical experience led Bishop Finn and Monsignor Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King to ask Monsignor Offutt to oversee the renovation of the Oratory. And he spent many, many hours, sometimes frustrating hours in this duty as chairman of our building committee. As a result of his practical and logical thinking, the Oratory renovation was able to be completed a cost that was far less than it could have been. And for a small community with limited resources that was very important.
Through Monsignor Offutt's personal efforts the Oratory was able to acquire much of the fixtures and equipment including our main and side altars at no cost to us through donations by other dioceses across the country. Monsignor Offutt arranged these transfers.
The photo in this post shows Monsignor Offutt in his part of the consecration liturgy, that of consecrating the gospel side altar. The shot shows Monsignor cleansing his hands after application of anointing oil on the altar surface.
Our beloved Bishop Finn is shown processing from the church at the end of the consecration and rededication ceremonies. As he gives his blessing to the congregants, one can see in his face the goodness and humility for which he is well known. But, also one can detect the pleasure that he drew from the entire celebration and a subtle acknowledgment between the people and the Bishop that something very special just took place.
We strongly recommend that you read his column in this week's Catholic Key, "Warriors with our eyes fixed on Heaven", where he reveals some of his reflections about his personal experience with this liturgy.
The Catholic Key (publication date 10/31/2008) is full of information about Old St. Patrick Oratory. The front page has a huge photo of the consecration clergy posed on the front steps of the Oratory. And, inside, is a big multi-page story about the ceremonies with Bishop Finn, a history of the Oratory, the build-up to the Bishop's turnover of the parish to the Latin Mass community and the three-year renovation project that resulted in a sparkling and beautiful home for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of the Church.
Author of the main article is John Heuretz. John is an Oratory member and a very fine writer. Many of you may have read the weekly "lives of the saints" that appeared in our bulletins over a period of about three years. John Heuretz was the writer. John is another of those quiet heroes of our community that go about their work without much recognition and no expectation of it. But, we want to publicly thank him for all he has contributed to the Oratory and in particular for this excellent story done on assignment by the Catholic Key.
The internationally-known "Pastor of the Internet", Father John Zuhlsdorf aka "Father Z." (left) and our Latin Mass chaplain emeritus, Father Frank Kriski, CssR were part of the processions during the consecration on Saturday October 25th. Father Z. comments Thursday morning on Bishop Finn's "must read" column in the Catholic Key this week. Don't miss it!
For those who appreciate learning about our antecedents, from time to time we will post snipets of our research descriptive of some of the most interesting events over the 139 years of the parish's existence.
The person most responsible for the initial growth of Old St. Patrick was one of its first pastors, Father James A. Dunn. He was appointed as pastor of St. Patrick in March of 1873 where he found an Irish community of great poverty and no suitable church building. Through Father Dunn's tireless efforts and much of his own personal wealth, the parish was able to construct a church, a school and a rectory over the span of just a few years. The existing church building housed its first services in 1875.
Father Dunn virtually worked himself to death with great sacrifices and extraordinary diligence. He died in 1888 at the age of 48 years old. He was initially accorded a great honor by his parishioners by being buried in the church, but in 1927 his remains were disinterred and re-buried in the priests' lot in Mt. St. Mary's cemetery.
During the renovation of the Oratory, Father Dunn's tomb was discovered under the center of the sanctuary. We'll show a photograph of that in a future post.
Now that Old St. Patrick Oratory renovation is virtually complete, it is time to turn our attention of the promotional efforts of other renovation projects of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the United States. The video above is of the Institute's ambitious project on Chicago's south side. It is of a scale much larger and more complex than Old St. Patrick Oratory. Much work has been done but great deal of money must be raised to complete the project. The video above tells the story of the Shrine and it's efforts and is narrated by Msgr. Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute. When you finish this video, please click here for Part II. If you would be interested in contributing to this wonderful effort, please visit the website of the Institute and follow the links to the donation pages.
Soaring heights and sparkling stained glass greet visitors to Old St. Patrick Oratory. The initial first impression is one of awe and surprise at the brightness and luminosity. To those who had previously seen the interior of the neglected church when we first assumed possession in 2005 and began the renovation, the first impression is more of astonishment at the amazing change in appearance.
A book, "Kansas City" published by the Kansas City Chapter of The American Institute of Architects, 1979, page 59, states that the church was designed by Asa Beebe Cross, a pioneer architect of the city, in the Italianate (Baroque) style. Another book, "Kansas City: A Place in Time", published by the Landmarks Commission of Kansas City, Missouri, 1977, page 43, says the same thing. Some prefer to identify the architecture of the church as Italian Renaissance Revival.
But whatever the correct architectural description, the church has been transformed into a perfect vessel for the beauty and majesty of the Latin Mass and its embodiment of the patriomony of the centuries of church history.
Bill Fitzgibbons is always available to help, no matter what is needed and when. He served faithfully over the last few years on the building committee and he is there every Sunday acting as usher and taking up the collection.
But, Bill is also mentor for many of the young men of the Oratory in craftsmanship. He is an accomplished wood craftsman and is an expert in statuary repair and restoration. He has trained a number of the boys as part of an organization that Bill founded... "The Nazareth Guild". Its full title is "The Honorable & Worshipful Company of Woodcarvers and Craftsman of the Nazareth Guild".
The guild's motto is "Laudantes Deum Per Opera Manuum Nostrarum" ("Glorifying God through the Works of Our Hands"). The guild was started to foster Christian virtue and craftsmanship in young men.
We have so much talent and dedication in our small membership. We hope to feature others on this blog to thank them publicly for all the help and direction they give Old St. Patrick.
The Most Reverend Robert Finn, celebrant.
Click on image to enlarge
The Old St. Patrick Oratory is a friendly, cohesive community. After Mass yesterday we trooped out of the church and of course it struck us that there was no place to go to socialize. Where was the coffee and donuts...???!!!
Fortunately it was a beautiful morning so a little chit-chat was possible in the brisk air. But soon the weather won't cooperate. So, we must begin to think about alternatives for social gathering and community activities to be sure that we don't lose our closeness.
Whatever permanent solution is devised., it will be costly and another big commitment. Have you got any ideas? What are your thoughts on how you think we should proceed.
Here's a gallery of photos of the Dedication, Consecration and Pontifical Mass at the Oratory Saturday morning. The photos are in two volumes (total of about 600 pictures). The photos are in chronological order and include many pictures of the liturgical ceremonies interspersed with photos showing architectural features and some of the beauty of the Oratory.
The first part of Volume 1 includes a number of pictures of the interior prior to the beginning of the ceremonies. Some of the pictures may seem a little redundant to you. These pictures will be part of the historical archive of the Oratory and various versions are desirable for future potential uses for internet or printed applications. We hope you will enjoy them. The order of the liturgy is:
- External Aspersion (liturgical cleansing of the outside of the church and the property)
- Entrance into the Church
- Internal Aspersion (cleansing of the inside walls and entrances)
- Aspersion of the Altars
- Possession Rites and Dedication of the church - The bishop "takes possession" of the church in the name of God
- Procession of the Relics
- Deposition of the relics in the Altars of the church
- Consecration of the Church and Altars
- Vestition, (clothing) of the Altar
- Pontifical Mass
Volume 1 has three pages. But, please be patient with the loading of the pages. Volume 2 has one page.
We've had several emails asking for a picture of "before...and after". Here it is. We don't think that you need any commentary from us. The photos speak for themselves. Click on the image for a bigger version.
As of the time of this post we have had almost 900 visitors to this blog since yesterday afternoon. This is much higher traffic than usual. The opening of the Old St. Patrick Oratory has obviously been of interest throughout the United States and in a number of foreign countries. The members of the Oratory are at once...overwhelmed... exhausted... grateful... and humbled by our providential good fortune to have our beloved Bishop Finn and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
It was almost a full church this morning...just a few odd empty spaces here and there. The Mass was Solemn, followed by prayers of Thanksgiving, The Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart, the Litany of the Sacred Heart and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The church was beautiful and it was very comfortable settling into our new church. The photos above show:
- A vignette from the Mass
- Monsignor Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the celebrant, who gave an excellent homily.
- Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
- Recessional to the choir's rousing "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King".
We hope to have a gallery of photos posted soon of the Dedication/Consecration of the church. There are over 700 photos and we need to do a little editing here and there. So, please have a little patience...
Monsignor Michael Schmitz will be the celebrant of a Solemn High Mass in Thanksgiving this morning at the Oratory on the Feast of Christ the King. If you can make it, you won't be disappointed. Our newly renovated church is beautiful. Mass is at 9:15 a.m.
Also, don't miss the nice photos of the consecration on page B5 of the Kansas City Star this morning.
It started at 9:00 a.m. and was complete at 2:00 p.m. CST. Words fail. We'll have a gallery of pictures (professionally photographed) up in a couple of days. These pix are just a few amateur snaps:
- ...shows Bishop Finn anointing of one of the twelve crosses on the walls of the church. His Excellency is doing this by climbing a ladder at each of the crosses.
- ...shows the procession of relics being brought into the church to be placed in the three altars. The relics are of: St. Dominic, St. Justina, St. Florence, St. John Bosco, and St. Bernadette Soubirous.
- The third picture shows Bishop Finn sprinkling the entire interior of the church.
It was a magnificent day! The culmination of three years of renovation...and twenty years of Latin Mass in Kansas City and prayer for our own parish. It's done! Alleluia!
We'll be leaving shortly for church and the dedication ceremony. We are singing in the choir of about 30 voices which includes a bunch of great singers from St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis. They drove over to pitch in with their prodigious talent. The Mass is Palestrina's Missa Brevis. (Update 10/26/2008: the photo is of a part of the men's chant schola that included men from St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, Old St. Patrick and from the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago).
All the last minute work was completed by a huge crew of workers last night that included all the sisters of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles who helped make the church sparkle. The church is beautiful. Everyone has done such a great job!
Remember! This dedication ceremony and Mass is by invitation only and all seats are reserved. So, if you were thinking of coming down...please don't. If you don't have a ticket you won't be admitted. However, High Mass is tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. And, everyday thereafter. The Mass schedules are in the column to the right.
We'll have lots of pictures up perhaps even later today...although this ceremony is about five hours long and there's a reception after. So, pictures might not be until later.
Old St. Patrick owns its parking lot just to the south of the church and it is available for the faithful to use on week-ends, for the evening week-day Masses, for Sunday Masses and for the Rededication/Consecration ceremonies tomorrow morning. The parking lot is not available on week days from 6 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. due the fact that it is leased to the insurance company just to the west of the lot.
Should you have to visit the church during business hours, Monday thru Friday, you will need to park on Cherry or 8th street both of which typically have plenty of of spaces available. Each street parking space is metered and requires 25¢ per quarter hour.
Due to the generosity of the Archdiocese of Boston, Old St. Patrick was the beneficiary of many beautiful church furnishings. Also on the list was the basic sections of the new confessionals that were assembled and erected last night in a late night work session that lasted well after 2:00 a.m.
The fronts and sides of the confessional came from Boston and the remainder of the units, which were not in good shape were rebuilt and refinished. The result is just amazing.
On tap for today: The crews are this morning and this afternoon completing the installation of the kneelers in the pews and installing the beautifully rebuilt and refinished communion rail that also came from Boston. We'll get some photos of that later today. The crews are in the final stages and with the help of God, we'll be ready by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Things are moving along smartly and it definitely looks like everything is going to be "almost" ready. But those who attend won't really notice what is not completely done.
- The first picture is of candle holders and candles that have been affixed to the outside wall panels and will be used as part of the dedication ceremonies. These are temporary and will be removed after the ceremonies. However they will be re-used yearly thereafter on each anniversay of the dedication for a special ceremony to mark the date.
- Next, a new outside sign has been installed on the front of the church. In the lower part of the sign changeable information will be posted. The sign is metal and the temporary information will be placed on magnetic sections for easy placement and removal.
- All the cabinetry for the sacristy is now installed. These drawers and cabinets are for the storage of vestment and liturgical items.
Above the three sets of double doors from the narthex into the nave of the church there are three glass panels which bear the crests of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese (left); Bishop Finn (center - shown above); and the Institute of Christ the King (right). They are beautiful and a superb introduction to the church as people walk through the front doors.
“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deut 30:19)
The Catholic Key blog posts the letter Bishop Finn has asked all parishes to read this week-end. A copy of the letter will also be printed in the Catholic Key that publishes tomorrow.
In anticipation of the national elections and the grave choices that face voters, Bishop Finn is asking all faithful to pray for the protection of life.
Our first Sunday Mass in the newly re-opened Oratory is fittingly the Feast of Christ the King, a feast of special meaning for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest which serves the Oratory by invitation of Bishop Robert Finn.
This feast was established by Pope Pius XI in December of 1925 and has become one of the most important feasts on the Church's liturgical calendar. By special grant from the Holy See any person, under the normal circumstances, may earn a plenary indulgence when attending Mass on this feast at an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King.
Holy Mass will be followed by Benediction and Exposition.
The volunteer corps was out in force this morning at the Oratory. Shown above are Oratory members:
- Joseph Villotti and Don Deister building the new outside entrance to the basement "crypt"
- Walt Marnett cleaning and organizing the very untidy supplies closet on the west side of the parish office
- Jacob Villotti measuring and cutting trim for the parish office restroom
The stations are up...and they are exquisite. This photo shows them on the wall with a close-up inset of one of the stations. Click on the image above and you can see a much larger version that shows some of the detail. The paintings are beautiful and the frames, custom-made for the Oratory are exceptional. Oratory members will notice a little difference between the way the Stations at Our Lady of Sorrows are hung and how the Oratory Stations are hung. At Sorrows, the first station is on the right as you are facing the altar. At the Oratory, the first station is on the left as you face the altar. This allows for the stations to proceed in the direction that Christ is facing in the paintings as he proceeds through the Way of the Cross.
Bill Heyer, the architect and designer for the renovation of the Oratory, is looking tired but unflappable and free of doubt that the church will be ready for the Consecration and Dedication Mass....just five days away. Much is happening this morning and the church is shaping up for everything to be mostly complete...or at least "look" complete. But this is the way it usually is on any big project. Everything falls together at the last minute with the steady participation of the contractors and volunteers.
Rehearsing for the celebration of Pontifical High Mass at the Dedication and Consecration, Bishop Finn (center) is shown this morning at the high altar of the Oratory accompanied by Father Avis (left) and another priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Also present, but not shown in this picture was Father Richard Rocha, the diocesan Master of Ceremonies.
This view is across the newly installed pews toward the narthex wall that is being installed and hopefully will be mostly completed by tomorrow morning. The photo shows the choir loft above the new wall.
At Our Lady of Sorrows
The following are the final Masses at this location
Sunday - October 19 - 9:15 a.m.Monday - October 20 - 4:00 p.mTuesday - October 21 - 9:00 a.m.Wednesday - October 22 - 9:00 a.m.Thursday - October 23- 6:00 p.m.Friday - October 24 - 9:00 a.m.Confessions: Monday through Friday - After Holy Mass
At Old Saint Patrick Oratory
806 Cherry (Downtown Kansas City)
Saturday - October 25 - 9:00 a.m. - Consecration and Mass of the Dedication - Please note: This Mass requires a ticket and all seating is reserved. Please join us tomorrow, October 26th at 9:15 a.m. for our first regular Mass at the Oratory. The church is beautiful and you won't regret your visit.Sunday - October 26 - 9:15 a.m. - Feast of Christ the King - Plenary Indulgence: All faithful who assist at Holy Mass in an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest can gain a plenary indulgence...under the usual conditions.Confessions: Sunday - 8:30 a.m.Beginning next week - October 27th and thereafter:
- Daily Mass (Monday through Friday) will be at 6:00 p.m. each evening
- Saturday Mass will be at 9:00 a.m.
- Sunday Mass will be at 9:15 a.m.
- Confessions will be heard thirty minutes prior to week-day Masses. 8:30 a.m. before Mass on Sundays
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of Apostles currently have Gregorian chant CDs available for purchase:
- The sister's CD is brand new and is a collection of Gregorian Chant, polyphony and unison pieces including some of the sister's original compositions of personal inspiration. The sisters do not offer on-line ordering. But you can order ($20 each/or $15.00 each for more than one) by writing the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus, 1400 NE 42nd Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64116 or by calling: 816-455-2065.
- The Institute's CD is sung by the seminary schola and by the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus. It contains several Gregorian Chant Masses and chants for Benediction. The price is $21.00. You can order by clicking here...the Institute's on-line store.
It is very motivating to the volunteer crews and also to the paid craftsman who are working so hard to get everything completed at the church by next Saturday morning, to have our Rector, Father Avis paying us frequent visits at the worksite. In the photo to the right, Father is discussing some parish business with parishioner Alan Troyer. In the background St. Joseph and the Christ Child are waiting to be put in their new place of honor on the south side of the narthex.
It's been nearly a year since St. Patrick travelled to St. Louis for a complete make-over. The results are good and he is now back at home in his niche just to the right of the Epistle side of the main altar. It feels good to have him back home. This statue is carved of solid wood and weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 pounds. It took three strong men and a special winch to get the statue up on its perch about seven feet above the floor level.
The carpentry crew began installing the beautiful woodwork which separates the vestibule from the nave of the church. Doors and etched glass work will be installed by early next week. It is amazing how the Building Committee and the architects have extracted such quality from what is a very limited budget. Much has been accomplished for a relatively small amount.
A Labor of Love. This is how on Saturday evening, October 18th, FOX Television Channel 4 in Kansas City described the volunteer effort at renovating Old St. Patrick Oratory. The very-well produced segment which was videotaped in documentary-style over the months and years of the renovation process and shown on the evening news program, featured the almost unbelievable effort of the Oratory volunteers in their "labor of love". Shown telling their story were: Don Deister, who captained the effort with friends and parish colleagues: Paul Estopare, Walt Marnett, Teresa Villotti, Maria Villotti, Joseph Villotti, Jacob Villotti, and Alan Troyer. It also featured Bishop Robert Finn. It is an inspiring tale that will be helpful for all in our parish family to more fully understand the effort that these parishioners put into the renovation process for..., as Jacob Villotti was quoted as saying in the film, "...the greater glory of God". To view the news feature, click here.
All Souls Day (November 2nd) falls on a Sunday this year. Thus, according to the Extraordinary Form calendar, the celebration of the Feast is moved to the next day, November 3rd. So, on Sunday the Mass will be the 25th Sunday after Pentecost. If that isn't confusing enough, the proper for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost will be that of the 4th Sunday after Epiphany. Goodness!
All Saints Day will be as usual on Saturday, November 1st and is a Holy Day of Obligation.
We couldn't find any links to the photo spread on the Star's website, www.kansascity.com, so if you want to see the Star pictures of the church, Father Avis and Monsignor Offutt, you'll have to find someone who subscribes to the STAR, or at last resort, buy a paper...
It's an opportunity to say "good-bye" to one of the most beautiful churches in the diocese and home of the Traditional Latin Mass for over 20 years! And to give thanks to God for everything that he has given us over those years. Also, to enjoy "coffee and donuts" for the last time in the foreseeable future. The Oratory, unfortunately, doesn't have any appropriate gathering space for social activities. This lack will have to be addressed sooner than later.
The statue of St. Patrick that was in the Oratory when we took over, although dramatically carved, was pretty homely. And it had about 10 coats of paint on it. At the direction of architect Bill Heyer with a color plan devised by him, the statue turned out beautifully. Much of the paint was removed and repainted a stark white accented with meticulous gold-leafing. This scheme mixes well with the overall look of the building interior. It also accents the beautiful solid marble side altar statues. The restoration of these statues is very simple, but the effect is stunning!
The pictures show (click on the images for a larger image):
- Saint Patrick.
- Saint Bridget - This statue was originally in the Oratory but had found a different home some years ago. Through the auspices of the Chancery, the statue was returned to its first home, Old St. Patrick
- Saint Joseph - This gigantic statue, over 7 feet tall, will be on display in the vestibule of the Oratory on the south side.
- The last photo shows an artist from Restorations Plus of St. Louis, Missouri putting the finishing touches on the restoration of the top of the baptismal font that will be used in the church. This font was part of the items given to the Oratory by the Boston Archdiocese.
Here's a tentative timeline for getting some of the major remaining projects completed.
Sunday - 10/19 - Pew assembly completed
Monday - 10/20 - New front doors installed
Monday - 10/20 - Stations of the Cross installed
Tuesday - 10/21 - Revised outside sign will be installed
Tuesday - 10/21 - Confessionals & altar rail installed
Tuesday - 10/21 - Vesting cabinets installed
Tuesday - 10/21 - New front doors painting completed
Tuesday - 10/21 - Wainscoting completed
Wednesday - 10/22 - Vestibule wall will be installed
Wednesday - 10/22 - Floor Touch up
Friday - 10-24 - New statue pedestals installed
Friday - 10/24 - Etched glass installed in vestibule wall
Friday - 10/24 - Accent lighting completed
Friday - 10/24 - Final clean-up
Saturday - 10/25 - Anything left to do...will just have to wait a little!
New cabinetry is being installed in the two sacristy sections...In the sacristy on the Epistle side of the church that will be used by the altar servers, there are preparation counters, a sink and a large closet for chasubles and surplices.
On the Gospel side, the sacristy room on the south side of the church, new cabinetry is also being installed. Fixtures include storage for vestments, sinks, a large safe for the secure storage of valuable liturgical vessels and similar items. Cabinetry is also being installed in the restroom adjacent to the parish office room.
At last...the pews are arriving from Nebraska...and they were worth the wait. They are beautiful. The pews are shipped in sections (pieces) and are assembled on site. Late yesterday afternoon workers were laying the pews out according to the architect's drawings and assembly and permanent installation will begin today. We are expecting an additional shipment of pew parts today. It is anticipated that the assembly will be complete by Monday.
Also arriving were the pew "ends" which were salvaged from the pews that were originally in the church. They also are extremely attractive and add a touch of the historical flavor of the church. The ends were completely stripped, and re-stained and prepared for re-attachment to the brand new seats and kneelers.