By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
An aggressive timeline had called for Christmas Mass at St. Edward Catholic Church to be held in a new sanctuary.
As it turns out, the timeline was too optimistic and the old sanctuary will be used for one more holiday season.
Bonnie Henny, business manager at St. Edward, said the new church dedication originally scheduled for Dec. 14 has been pushed back to Feb. 1 of next year. Thus, no mass in the new sanctuary, which Henny gave the Keizertimes a tour of Tuesday.
“Of course, we’re disappointed,” Henny said. “But (the Christmas target) was barely 10 months from the start of the project.”
There is a nice consolation associated with the Feb. 1 weekend.
“That is the anniversary weekend for this church,” she said. “We opened in February 1968.”
While mass won’t be held in the new sanctuary, Henny is hopeful people passing by the church at 5303 River Road North will be able to see something new this weekend.
“We are hoping to turn on the interior night lights in time for Christmas,” Henny said. “We are waiting for the PGE transformer to come in. Those might be lit up for this weekend. We have LED lights which can change colors and shine out of the windows. They can change colors based on the season. The light goes straight up to emphasize the arches. The idea is you should be able to see the shape of the arches at night.”
The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Feb. 1.
“The archbishop has to come and dedicate it,” Henny said. “It’s about a three hour service. He gets handed the key so he is the first one in here, then he blesses the altar.”
Henny said the relic stone of Saint Edward moves from the old altar to the new one during the ceremony, along with a relic stone of Saint Claire. Both will get embedded into the altar and tapped in during the dedication service. Chrism oil will also be put on the altar.
“These are traditions that have handed down over the last 2,000 years,” Henny said.
The old altar can be given to another church, while some pews are going to a church in the area. At this point, it hasn’t been decided what the old sanctuary will be used for once the new one opens.
Between now and Feb. 1, there is plenty of work to be done. The sanctuary floor is nearing completion, stair railing is being installed, while electrical and city water connections are still to be done. New pews are coming in late January, which will be the last thing to come in.
A couple of notable features will be on the River Road side. There will be a floating cross at the top of the building, above a prayer chapel.
“The prayer chapel will be available 24 hours a day,” Henny said. “We will have a secure code for it. People can only come in here, not the rest of the church. There will be a Michelangelo spirit window in here. This area will also have its own restroom. It is much bigger than the one we have now. This is the reason the church is set the way it is, so that this part is closest to River Road.”