Marble altar finishes long trip to Lima

First Posted: 9/4/2013

LIMA — A year in the making, a trip halfway around the world and just days away from being in place, the new altar at St. John Catholic Church is about ready for its new home.

“The people in the parish are just thrilled. We are able to reestablish our heritage,” said Father David Ross.

The altar, made of Carrara marble imported from Carrara, Italy, will match other marble in the 100-year-old church that is home to 1,000 parishioners on South Main Street, Ross said.

While the marble came from Italy, the only place in the world that has Carrara marble, and is the same type of marble artist Michaelangelo used in his day. It was shipped to China where a Romanesque design was carved into the 8-foot by 40-inch altar that weighs 2,000 pounds, Ross said.

“They told us it was going to take five months but there was a snag getting it from Italy to China. The reason they sent it to China is because it was less expensive to carve it there,” Ross said.

The altar also came with an ambo or pulpit, which weighs 1,000 pounds by itself, Ross said.

Assembling the altar began Wednesday morning and will be set up to resemble a faux marble design that was in the church until the 1960s. The church used a local artist to create a reredos of what the first altar resembled for the creation of this one, Ross said.

“We are trying to bring back what we had,” Ross said. “We are not renovating, we are restoring.”

A donor gave the church $44,000 to pay for the altar and ambo. The donor does not want his name released, Ross said.

A ceremony will be held later this year to consecrate the altar by the bishop out of Toledo. The Lima Symphony Orchestra will perform at the church Saturday with the new altar in place, Ross said.

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