The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, this week consecrated two new altars at churches in Queens, including Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach and St. Thomas More in Breezy Point, where the Sanctuary was also renovated.
As part of the special ceremony, the bishop anointed the new altar. In Catholic tradition, the rites of anointing, incensing, covering, and lighting the altar are visible signs of the invisible work that the Lord accomplishes through the Church.
“It is a joy to celebrate the consecration of the new Altar with Bishop Brennan, which represents Christ in the center of the parish community. I pray that as we celebrate the Eucharist on this Altar, all will be drawn to the heart of Jesus,” said Father Marc Swartvagher, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach.
“The renovation of the Sanctuary and the installation of the new Altar was an opportunity to continue to address repairs needed to the church as a result of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It also was the first time the church was updated since the early 70s. I am very pleased with how it came out and equally happy by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from parishioners,” said Father Michael Gelfant, Pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish which encompasses three churches including St. Thomas More.
“I was honored to be with these parish communities for these two great occasions. This ritual is filled with signs and symbols, one of the more beautiful rituals, that is very, very powerful. We dedicated these altars to God, for the worship of God, to offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist, the altar of Jesus Christ, the altar of His Cross, and His Resurrection. The altar is central to our lives as Catholics and gets us connected to the Lord Jesus Christ.” said Bishop Robert Brennan.