Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Caution: Antependia May Be A Danger to Your Cell-phone

I'm working on a reversible white/purple antependium for a semi-fixed altar at the chapel where I serve the TLM. It is simple and on a budget, but I'd like to think still of proportionately worthy materials and reasonably tasteful in design.

Update - here are some pictures:

Thankfully, the "polka-dot" look that might come across in these pictures, inherent in the design of the damask we could find, is not nearly so obvious or abrasive when the cloth is hanging vertically and the light hits it that way.

There was a question, however, of how to attach it to the altar.

Since it has to be reversible, velcro or the likes on the back wasnt exactly an option, as there is no back, both sides may function as the front depending on whether it is a penitential day or not.

And we don't want to have to remove all the altar cloths each time we switch colors, so I wasnt going to attach it to a cloth resting under them on the mensa itself.

And my priest didn't want hooks or anything that might grab him during Mass.

And I'm on a budget, so I couldn't build a wooden frame or anything like that. Besides, I think cloth frontals should truly hang and drape...making them into merely some sort of facade is...well, a facade. Like some sort of liturgical dickey shirtfront (well, I guess that's what "tab collars" are, actually).

So...I'm using extremely powerful neodymium magnets! I wonder what rubric-fetishist scrupulous trads would think about that. Hmm...I wonder if any of them would be anal enough to dig up some obscure decree of the Congregation of Rites from the 19th-century micro-managing how an antependium is "supposed to be" hung and then burn me at the stake for it. Frankly, I don't care. That sort of liturgical centralization and micromanaging is why organic development and local usages died (a good topic for another post).

Anyway, the altar is basically just a table on which a portable altar ("altar stone") was set during Mass, but we've turned it into a "semi-fixed" altar by placing a piece of plywood the same thickness as the stone on top, and then cutting a square in the wood in which to insert the stone, so now the mensa is all level (whereas previously there was a real danger of the chalice falling off the stone).

One set of magnets is being inserted into the front edge of that plywood (the trim on the top altar linen covers it while the antependium is not up). The other set is being sewn into the top of the antependium itself, in pockets where the magnets will be able to "flip" around so they can hold up the frontal no matter which way it is facing.

However, these magnets are extremely powerful. I have seen them fly together from even a great distance part, and they take quite a bit of strength to separate (layers of cloth between then helps with that a lot, however).

I will have to remember to warn Father (as the man in the hobby store reminded me) to take his cell-phone out of his pocket before Mass!


Mark of the Vineyard said...

A bit out of context, but seeing as how you serve at a TLM I was wondering what your opinion is on Byzantine rites, given the contrast of silence of the TLM in relation to the obiquitouness of singing in the DL.

A Sinner said...

I love the Eastern Rites. I suppose I should do a basic post on my liturgical aesthetic, with reference to the Eastern praxis. I'll post my response on the main blog.