Story of an Altar

October 9, 2013

On October 5, 2013, several sisters were present at Holy Rosary Parish Church in Portugal Cove, NL, for a special event. An altar of historical significance was rededicated for that Church by Archbishop Martin Currie.

Also present for the event were many parishioners, Father Ray Earle, P.P. of Holy Rosary Parish, Father Geoff Kolonel, P.P. of St. Kevin’s Parish, Goulds, and Father Leo English, P.P. of St. Teresa’s Parish.

The altar had been given to Monsignor Harold Summers by his parents Michael and Ann Summers and was initially installed in St. Teresa’s Church on Mundy Pond Road.

In the mid 1960s, with the construction of the new St. Teresa’s Church by the Redemptorists and the construction of St. Bride’s College and Mercy Generalate on the Littledale property, the altar was given by Monsignor Summers to Sister Mary Assumpta Veitch, Superior General, for the chapel at the new Generalate.

With the sale of St. Bride’s College, the altar was removed piece by piece and placed in storage at the Basilica awaiting a new home.

The altar is a masterpiece made of marble with the Last Supper sculptured on the front. When the priests of the archdiocese viewed it in storage a few years ago, Father Geoff Kolonel, then parish priest of Holy Rosary Parish, asked for it for his church in Portugal Cove and started the task of renovating his sanctuary for its installation.

Before renovations were completed, Father Ray Earle was assigned pastor of Holy Rosary Parish and he and the committee finished the work. Many of our sisters who served on Leadership Teams since the 1960s prayed daily in front of this altar.

It was breath-taking to enter Holy Rosary Church on October 5th and behold the marble altar illuminated by five small flood lights in the floor before the altar.

During the same ceremony on October 5th, a refurbished stained glass window was blessed and Father Ray was formally installed as the new pastor of Holy Rosary Parish by Archbishop Currie. After Mass we had an opportunity to meet many parishioners while enjoying a delicious lunch in the parish hall.

Many expressed their gratitude for the altar and promised to take care of it for us. We in turn stated how grateful we are that it has found such a beautiful home.


Contact: Rosemary Ryan