Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ave Maria stencils

Here's an update on the progress on the walls near the altar of the Blessed Virgin.

Scaffolding and Stencils behind the Altar of the BVM

A generous parishioner was impressed by Tim Linenberger, our painter from Salina, Kansas, (785) 825-6387. That person donated the funds to complete the stencils behind the altar of the Blessed Virgin.

The scale of the stencil is quite a bit smaller than the one behind the high altar. The symbols are the rose, a traditional symbol for Saint Mary, and the initials A.M. for Ave Maria.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Stencils behind the High Altar are done; Side Altars are next

The stencils are done - behind the high altar. The funds to pay for the stencils were donated by one household. The donation was separate from the "In Pew" drive and the "Major Gifts" drive.

Several generous donors came forward last weekend with the intention of contributing towards the stenciling behind the side altars. As of now, there have been enough funds donated that we can pay to complete the stencils behind both side altars.

As promised in our parish bulletin, here is a preview of the stencils:

Behind the altar of Saint Joseph, we will see symbols that remind us of him.

The base coat of paint is African violet, or purple. The inspiration to use this color comes from his window in Holy Family's clerestory. His robes more or less match the paint on the walls.

In his window, Saint Joseph is depicted holding an Easter Lily, or a fleur-de-lis. It is a traditional symbol of purity, perfection, and life.

Other symbols in the stencil will be the tools of a carpenter: a square, nails, and a hammer.

The Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary has a blue wall behind it. The blue is a median color between the two blues in her garments in the windows.

Her symbols are the rose, one of the many common symbols of Mary's beauty and purity. The monogram "A.M." stands for Ave Maria and is based on one of the chasubles worn on Marian feasts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Interesting Discovery

The stencils are completely done on one side. It is easy to see the crisp, clear lines that come from the hands of skilled painters.

Before the painters started on the right side of the apse, we removed an electrical box and conduit that ran along the wall. It belonged to an obsolete messaging system. When the celebrant was ready to begin Mass, he could press a button on the wall. It would make a light on the organist's console light to tell him to begin playing the opening hymn. It was last used decades ago when the previous organ was in the church.

You can see where the box and conduit were in the photo on the right.

Underneath the electrical box is a fragment of the 1948 stencil pattern. In that renovation, the walls changed from a soft series of pastel yellows, blues and greens to a bold, ornate stenciled look.

This glimpse into our past was an unexpected find. I couldn't help sharing it. It is now covered in magenta paint to match the rest of the apse wall.

The photo below shows the church as it looked after the 1948 renovation.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Copper spires shine

Holy Family's parishioners see the progress on the Cathedral on a weekly or daily basis. For those of you who do not get to see the Cathedral often, here is a photo showing the current state of the roof.

The south side of the central spire is done. The roofers are concentrating on the north side of the central spire and the north side of the roof over the nave. It appears that they are going to work on the apse at a later date. The above photo clearly shows the difference between the new copper and the older aluminum.

South side of Apse is nearly done

Tim Linenberger and the fine folks from Linenberger Painting from Salina, Kansas, (785) 825-6387, are doing an excellent job. They are nearly finished with the South or left side of the Apse.

The use two stencils: one for the Chi Rho and the other for the grapes. Tim prepared both stencils based on the designs of Thomas Gordon Smith, our architect. You may click on the photo if you wish to see the precise detail. For example, each grain of wheat must be large enough to be seen from the pews, but it must also look crisp and well-defined up close.

They are using a slightly brighter gold paint than what we see on the ribs of the vaults. The paint is carefully mixed to give the right consistency.

One man holds the stencil in place while another applies the paint using a vigorous circular technique. The process takes only a few minutes per stencil.

Another artist fills in the gaps in the stencil. You can see an unfinished Chi Rho at the bottom of this photo. The ones above it are completed.

They repeat the process several hundred times to finish the walls.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Stenciling continues

The painters are about 25% finished. They have completed the upper part of the left side of the apse. They are currently working behind the high altar.

Here are a few photos: distant and close.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The first stencils

The first stencils are painted and drying.

It must be Lent: the scaffolding is back

Last year's Lent began with an enormous scaffolding in the apse. This Lent will follow 2008's precedent.

Monsignor Gier hired a company from Kansas to paint a gold stencil over the magenta-painted wall behind the high altar. They built a relatively small scaffolding that they will use throughout Lent.

This is a preview of the pattern. Please note that the colors are not correct. The magenta background is accurate, but the foreground color is going to be different. The new paint will be a gold similar to the paint used on the ribs of the arches.

You may be curious about why Monsignor Gier chose the symbols in the stenciling. Since the Blessed Sacrement is reserved in the tabernacle in the high altar, it is fitting to use symbols which proclaim the Real Presence.

The Greek letters Chi and Rho are widely used in churches. Chi and Rho are the first letters in the name Christ. In our alphabet, the letters look like a P and and X.

The other two symbols are grapes and wheat, traditional symbols of the Eucharist. They are seen in the high altar as well.