Before and After: St. Wenceslaus in Wahoo, Nebraska

A reader recently sent in some information on a restoration project taking place at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wahoo, Nebraska. This particular project can almost be classed as a "restoration" because it is clear that a key guiding principle was to restore the sanctuary as nearly as possible to the original configuration.

In order to help demonstrate the point, I would offer the following photo taken from the parish archives, showing the high altar as it stood originally:

Shortly after the Council, around 1973, the original sanctuary was renovated, with the fixed altar and reredos being removed along with the side altars and altar rails. The new, modified configuration is well enough known, aligning to the liturgical trends and fads of that particular time, so there is no need to detail them. One positive development -- at least in principle -- was the addition of a hanging canopy, however the form it took wasn't particularly well integrated with this architectural space. 

At some point this canopy would be removed and some colour was added to the vaulting and the tabernacle was restored to the centre of the sanctuary.  This is the point we find ourselves at in our immediate "before" state of affairs, which in turn leads us to our consideration of the "after" as well:

Left: Before    Right: After

The restoration included a newly commissioned high altar and reredos of similar style and proportions to that which originally adorned the church. As well, two side altars were once again restored to their places. For this portion of the project, the parish turned to King Richard's Liturgical Design and Taller de Arte Religioso Salmeron.

Some will no doubt note the absence of the altar rail. LAJ has been informed that this is also being reinstalled in the coming months.  

At the beginning of this article I mentioned how this could quite properly be called a "restoration" given how it was substantially restoring the original look and feel of the church in a great many regards. 

However, to this point I would add that there has also been a significant improvement that has been made here, and that is the addition of the newly and beautifully painted apse -- executed by Evergreene Architectural Arts of Brooklyn.  This is a major artistic achievement, demonstrating yet again that in pursuing restoration, there is always room for improvement and development. 

All in all, a very fine bit of work here that has given the parish renewed and amplified beauty.  Congratulations to all involved. 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.