Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kudos to Fil-Am priest

Recently, a number of widely-read Catholic blogs, especially the New Liturgical Movement, drew attention to the resourceful and tasteful re-decoration of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana. 



This church happens to be pastored by a Philippine-born priest, Fr. Rommel Tolentino, who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lake Charles in 2005 at the age of 32. (Scroll down this webpage to see a short biographical notice.) He is also deeply involved in the Traditional Latin Mass movement in the said diocese (see this for instance), and St. Peter the Apostle has the TLM every Monday evening and First Saturday.

Some of the comments in the combox below the NLM article about this feat, cast more light upon Fr. Tolentino's accomplishment:

This church parish has been flooded and completely rebuilt several times. The current church building is not old; it is a modern, plain, brick functional structure with absolutely no architectural features. It's basically a rectangle with a pitched roof. Thanks to the opportunity afforded by the last hurricane, Fr.Tolentino took a scant budget, a great heart and mind, and many volunteer hours, and literally had everything here (almost) built or fabricated using materials that were available. A local university student did the paintings on the walls. Women volunteers stenciled. The "tile" floor is not. The altar rails are salvaged from a demolished church . . . many of the other "cardboard" seeming structures remain from the original church building. In real life, one would never realize what imagination, will, and a good priest can do with the help of a willing parish. This church is much more beautiful in real life.


Father Tolentino has been labeled "the ebay priest"... i PROMISE you would be shocked if you knew the number of the final project...donations...outpouring of items sent from churches all over...Father Tolentino has brought back the true Roman Catholic Church in our small community...He has taken on the responsibility of our Shepard and is taking very good care of our spiritual growth...


The renovations were made within a very strict budget provided by insurance proceeds following Hurricane Rita. The ceiling was not part of the damage therefore there were no monies for the very expensive process of refinishing. Note the added elevation to the alter, the columns, the stenciling etc. Considering the limited funds Fr. Rommel had to work with and the pre-existing structure, he did an amazing job of enhancing the beauty of St. Peter's. Walking in ones eyes are immediately drawn to the alter, tabernacle, crucifix and canopy. Knowing him I am sure there is more to come. :)


Kudos to Fr. Tolentino!

NB: His seminary paper on seafarers can be read here.

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