New Reredos at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in Louisiana Made by Monks of Clear Creek Abbey

The wonderful community of St. Francis de Sales in Sulphur, Louisiana (Diocese of Lake Charles) has a beautiful new Spanish style baroque reredos that was just installed in their sanctuary.  The reredos measures 24 feet tall, 18 feet wide, and 4 feet deep.  It is a custom made heritage piece that was designed and made by Brother Bernard Marie Dunne and the monks of Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma.  

Some twenty monks themselves worked on the project and volunteers both from and outside the Oratory assisted with the on-site sanding, painting, stenciling, and assembly.  The process of final touches and installation took two weeks.  Brother Bernard came to Sulphur to oversee the painting and installation.  The dedication Mass was celebrated by Bishop Provost of Lake Charles on Sunday, January 30.  The mayor was also in attendance.  Congratulations to all on this magnificent project!     

This community is under the wonderful care of our good friends of the Institute of Christ the King, which was given this old church building in 2019.  Previously the building had been the parish church of Our Lady of Prompt Succor until it was closed in 1985 and repurposed as a courthouse.  Since that time it was known as the Sulphur Judicial Center.  New life was thus breathed into the building once it came back into Catholic hands, a former Catholic church restored anew.  Because the building had been used as a courthouse for the past 35 years, it has been a busy project to redecorate the interior in a meaningful way and with a proper altar and reredos.  

When the building was changed into a courthouse, various interior walls were added that were not original to the building.  While many of those have been carefully removed, a few have been kept to house the sacristy, an office, classroom, and social hall.  The Oratory brings something both old and new to the Diocese, something that is very much sought worldwide - the full experience of a more traditional liturgy rooted in the sacred traditions and rich history of the Church.  

Low Mass was celebrated by the bishop and Catholics came from near and far to celebrate the blessing of the reredos that was held after Mass.  Visitors also came from nearby Texas.  The parish community is elated and continues the long process of restoring the interior to the semblance of a beautiful church.  Below can be seen a volunteer stencil painting as well as Brother Bernard putting on the final touches of the reredos detail.  It is always a pleasure to see the liturgical arts flourishing in small communities across the nation and world.  A big thank you to all involved with this exciting and rewarding project. The new reredos looks amazing!     

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