Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Chapel is open, First Mass celebrated this morning

The Chapel is not totally finished, but it's close enough. Msgr. Gier returned the Blessed Sacrament to the tabernacle, then celebrated the first post-renovation Mass in it this morning at 7:00 a.m.

Monsignor Gier is working now on the little details. For example, the small holy water fonts at the entrances have not arrived yet. He installed the old ones for the time being. He also made sure that the crucifix is centered perfectly.

The sacristy is back in order. Those familiar with the old chapel will recognize the Prayer of Saint Francis.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chapel: The pews are back

Most of the work is done in the Chapel. The pews are back. The paint in the little sacristy is dry. We should be able to have Mass very soon.

There are a few details that deserve attention. The pews have been a great addition to the Chapel. They are beautiful and make the Chapel look more "high Church" than the previous worn out chairs did. The priest who built Holy Family probably chose those pews for a parish church he built in Plunketville. When that parish closed recently, we brought the pews to the Chapel. [See this previous blog post for details.]

Our Chapel is a little larger than the church where the pews used to be. We had to reuse a dozen old chairs. To make matters worse, those chairs had to be placed directly in front of the altar.

Why? The two pillars in the Chapel would prevent the kneelers from the pews from lowering if they were placed there. If we placed the pews inside the pillars (like the chairs in the photo on the right), there would not be enough space for communicants to walk down the center aisle.

Here's the solution: we are looking into building a number of custom pews that will match the shape and color of the current pews. The new pews will be built in such a way to allow parishioners to use the kneelers despite the pillars.

For the present, I am not sure what the decision will be. Perhaps we will move some of the chairs back in. Perhaps we will ask a few more Mass-goers to kneel on the floor. Either way, we are working on it and I will post any news to this blog.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Time for an Update on the Roof

Tulsa is enjoying a beautiful and warm February day: 68 degrees. The roofers are probably enjoying the relief from the sub-freezing temperatures of recent weeks. They seem to be moving quickly up and down the sides of the central spire. That spire looks to be about halfway finished.

Almost all of the metal finials are finished. The roofers brought electric sanders to the finials to strip the old paint and rust. They repaired and refinished them in a brilliant white. They look fantastic against the brick walls and the new copper roof. We can hope that the workers will be able to clean or sand blast the white stone accents over the arches. They are looking quite "tired" next to the newness of the rest of the Cathedral's exterior.

Finally, we return to the Chapel. The first of the pews found its way back into the Chapel. When all the pews are installed, I will post more photos.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Is Tulsa's Cathedral fireproof?

The tragic fire at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago came at the end of their renovation efforts. The historic church caught fire early yesterday morning. Firefighters worked for two hours to extinguish the flames.

Cardinal George and his Cathedral Rector said that they were happy no one was seriously injured. They plan to rebuild the sections of the roof that were damaged.

As of this writing, no one has determined the cause of the blaze. It is worth noting that Holy Name had a fire suppression system in the attic. So do we at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.

What is the difference? Is our roof protected?

News reports from Chicago say that the fire suppression system in their cathedral sprayed water downward but not up. That is why the roof burned freely until the Fire Department arrived. Monsignor Gier says that Holy Family's fire suppression system shoots water both ways to quickly eliminate flames from above and below.

These photos show the attic - the space immediately above the vaulted ceilings.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Chapel Sacristy

The Chapel's sacristy/confessional is a small space, cold in the winter, with peeling paint and stained carpet - until now. Actually, it is still small and cold, but it is getting a few minor repairs.

The Chapel's new red carpet extends into the sacristy. Our maintenance men are installing baseboards and quarter-round along the corners to make the room look new and tidy.

When it is needed, they are repairing the corners.

In the Chapel itself, the statues, candles, and kneelers are returning. The pews are in the Auditorium, waiting for the carpet glue to dry.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Carpet in the Chapel of Peace

The air is thick with the smell of carpet glue. The Chapel of Peace has its long-awaited carpet. The carpet's color is a bold red. The carpet is a deeper red than the large photo (above). Click on any photo for a larger version.

There are a few more details that need to be addressed, then the pews will go back in. We should see daily Masses moved down from the Cathedral soon.