New altar top a perfect fit for Latin Mass

Anne Marie Amacher
Bishop Thomas Zinkula blesses the new altar top at Holy Family Parish in Davenport April 25.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — When the Diocese of Davenport announced that the Latin Mass community would relocate to Holy Family Parish in July 2020, community members wanted to bring their altar linens with them.

Father Paul Appel, pastor of Holy Family Parish, said the altar at his parish was too small. It was something he had already noted serving there. Not a lot of room for the chalice, ciborium, Roman Missal and candles or for a deacon to serve alongside. That space challenge set a number of other ideas in motion that led to creation of a new, larger altar top, which Father Appel said would benefit the entire parish. On April 25, Bishop Thomas Zinkula blessed the new altar top during Mass.

Pearl City Woodworking of Muscatine matched the wood of the new altar top to the existing one, which remains. Workers removed the old altar top and the relic inside of it was placed in the new top, which is about three feet longer and features decorative pieces to support it.


As part of the project, the tabernacle from the former St. Mary Church has been placed on a new stand behind the altar at Holy Family Church. Previously, the tabernacle was located in a eucharistic chapel next to the church’s elevator. Not many people visited the chapel because of its location. Father Appel said he received a request to place the tabernacle behind the altar.
A new sacristy fills the space previously occupied by the eucharistic chapel. Father Appel noted that in the past, this area served as the sacristy before it moved downstairs. “It was a lot of up and down.”

The sacristy is the place where clergy vest for Mass, linens and other liturgical items are stored and vessels are washed. A new floor was installed, along with new storage space finished in wood similar in color to the altar. The former high altar was placed in the sacristy for private prayer or a priest’s private celebration of the Mass. The crucifix above the altar in the sacristy contains a piece of the true cross, Father Appel said. The downstairs sacristy contains off-season vestments, linens and other church items.

During Mass on April 25, before the consecration, Bishop Zinkula prayed the Order of Blessing an Altar. “Let it be the center of our praise and thanksgiving; let it be the altar where we offer in mystery the sacrifice of Christ. Let it be the table where we break the bread of life and drink of the cup of unity. …”

He sprinkled the altar top with holy water and Father Appel and Deacon Steve Barton dressed the altar.

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