|Interior St. Patrick Church, pre 1904|
Friday, September 7, 2012
September 7, 1879 - Consecration
The relics of Saints Patrick and Philip were placed within the altar stone of the main altar. The marble altar was covered with oil and small fires were set on the corners. Twelve crosses and candles were placed around the perimeter of the church. The Pontifical Mass had not even started yet; these were merely the opening ceremonies. Once the doors were opened everyone wanted entrance. Admission tickets were sold well in advance with specific pews reserved. Still thousands remained outside list trying to hear the Psalms and Responses. There was much talk around town by Catholic and Non-Catholic alike on the question of selling tickets to such an occasion. Some remarked that this was typically Catholic. The music was Hayden’s 16th Mass, and the sermon was preached on how the faith has been passed on across the generations. The Mass ended in early afternoon. After a brief respite priests and people gathered at evening time for Vespers to sing the Te Deum (We praise you, O God.)
That event took place coincidentally 133 years ago today. The altar that was consecrated is now in the lower church. (It was moved there after the 1904 fire. Contrary to popular belief, it did not fall through the floor.) The relics of Sts. Patrick and Philip are still embedded in the altar stone. A single admission ticket from the event survives, donated by a parish family who saw the historical significance. Saint Patrick’s was only the second church to be given the title of consecrated. This was a unique privilege honoring not only priests, but people.