BEAUFORT — Our Lady’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at St. Peter Church was recently made more beautiful by the donation of an altar from Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island.
The Carrara marble altar represents cooperation across four churches.
It was first installed in 1861 as a side altar in the original St. Joseph Church on Anson Street in Charleston. The parish closed in 1965 due to declining membership, so the edifice was moved to Stella Maris and became part of the high altar.
Now that parish is undergoing construction of a new wooden altar and Msgr. Lawrence McInerny, pastor, offered it to Father Ronald R. Cellini, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church, for St. Andrew Chapel in Bluffton. He had no immediate need for the piece and suggested St. Peter.
Father Timothy Tebalt enthusiastically accepted it for the adoration chapel in Beaufort.
H. Tezza Inc., a Charleston company specializing in marble, ceramic and terrazzo products, had previously disassembled the altar at St. Joseph and placed it in Stella Maris. They also moved and reinstalled it to its new Beaufort home.
Father Tebalt told The Miscellany in an interview that he commissioned Tezza to enlarge the altar’s tabletop so Mass can be celebrated on it.
Edwin Crowder, a parishioner and craftsman, designed a marble-tiled platform. Five black crosses, replicating those carved into the altar’s top, are inlaid in the chapel floor symbolizing the five wounds of Christ. Elizabeth Smith and Janis Young created the curtain behind the altar and the chapel’s side curtains from ecclesiastic brocade.
Father Tebalt said he has plans to include lighting, new vigil candle stands, a lectern and a communion rail.