Friday, May 01, 2009


Antependia is the plural form of antependium, the formal term for what we often call "altar frontals." These beautiful frontals have been in storage for four decades. Now they are hung in the sacristies.

The antependia were made to fit the high altar at Holy Family and were used until the reforms following the Second Vatican Council. At that time, the sanctuary was expanded and the smaller altar was installed in the Cathedral. Since the new altar is significantly smaller, the Cathedral purchased new frontals to fit it.

Although these altar frontals are "on display," they are not museum pieces. They are part of the Church and are used from time to time. The red antependium features Saints Peter and Paul. It was used most recently at the 2007 ordination of two priests and eleven deacons. That ordination took place on the Vigil of Pentecost in the basketball arena at the University of Tulsa.

2007 Ordination, photo: Cathy Nelson

[As always, click on any photo to see a larger version.]

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