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Altar Frontals?
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Author:  TP [ Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Altar Frontals?


Frequently I read the Blog New Liturgical Movement:

A while back they were talking about altar frontals. These are the clothes that drape in front of the Altar. They showed a wood cut print and a color picture of an altar frontal. I didn't give it much thought at the time.

I was always taught in the seminary that the Altar was the symbol, so it was good to see the Altar. We have a very nice, solid marble altar and it is very impressive, so I didn't think of altar frontals. I liked what I was taught about the altar being the symbol.

Today, on a whim I thought: Hey, I am going to do some research on altar frontals and I googled it. YUCK!! Modern altar fronts are all pictures, sunsets, poor quality. It seems that the Sunset banners have moved to the altar frontals. In the 3 pages of google I explored I did NOT see a single altar frontal I would want near our altar.

It seems I am coming out very negatively against them, but actually I began my search with interest. It still seems like it could be nice for easter etc. Have any of you had any experience of altar frontals? Or any opinions on them?


Author:  juststartn [ Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Honestly, Father, the parishes I have attended have either not used them (NO parish, altar some weird ovalish thing), or have had a pre-Vatican two altar, with the altar along the back wall, and the long drape over both ends of the altar cloth type.

So I am not even sure what one would actually look like.


Author:  matteo d'basio [ Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

At my parish, it is customary (from long before I got here) for the undercloth on the altar to be the season's liturgical color, with a white cloth on top of it. The undercloth hangs about four inches over the front of the altar, and that is the only portion that is visible.

At a former parish, during the seasons of Advent and Lent, a plain purple cloth about 30 inches in width was draped under the white altar cloth so that it hung down in front. Most of the altar was still visible, but the purple made the point that these seasons are different. I have also seen the same done with a hand-woven fabric that had shades of purple.

Author:  Custos [ Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

When I was a boy, my parish (whose church was a truly splendid building by Henry V. Murphy) would certainly have frontals for the major feasts; what I cannot remember was whether they had them every Sunday. The feast day frontals were rich and beautiful things made of brocade -- the Easter set (which matched the vestments) was cloth-of-gold (no, not cheesy lame' -- I mean real cloth-of-gold) That more than 40 years later I still recall how impressed I was by them, and how festive tehy made the church for solemnities, says something in their favor.

Of course, a frontal only works if the altar is a tomb/chest type of altar -- with anything like a table, a frontal is awkward.

I will also weigh in here with an appeal for tabernacle veils -- I think an unveiled tabernacle, no matter how rich its construction, just looks naked. Naturally, the tabernacle veil should also be in the liturgical color for the season, and so would match the frontal.

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