Sacred Vessels Project

Construction is now complete on a chalice and paten for our new parish; we consecrated the vessels on our first Feast of Title and Dedication on September 8, 2013. Vincent W. Hawley, a devout Christian, Florentine-trained goldsmith, and friend of our community is the artist who undertook this work. Most recently, Mr. Hawley entered the chalice and paten in an annual competition for religious art hosted by the faith based journal Faith and Form in conjunction with The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture (IFRAA), where they won the Religious Arts: Ceremonial Objects category and received High Honors on unanimous decision of the judges. The competition will be featured in the December 2015 Awards issue of Faith and Form and presentation of the awards will be made at the May 2016 National Convention of the American Institute of Architects in Philadelphia, PA. We congratulate Vincent on this acknowledgement of his artistry and craftsmanship which have been noted by the well-respected New Liturgical Movement site as well. We appreciate your prayers for Vincent, confident that the Holy Spirit did direct him and bless the work of his hands; if you are moved to help us continue to assemble the appointments our community needs to worship following traditional Catholic practice in the Beauty of Holiness information on how to do so, online or by mail, will be found below.

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A Chalice and Paten for Saint Gregory the Great:
A Brief History of the Project

Saint Gregory the Great became our patron in September 2012; at some point between then and the turn of the year (although still waiting for Rome to approve Jürgen Liias’ Ordination and therefore not yet able to worship as a Eucharistic community) the inspiration was given to go forward in faith and create a chalice and paten, based on models from the time of the Gregorian Mission, which would serve as a commemoration of our establishment.

As the idea began to form its sense of appointment was increased by the realization we were blessed in having a Florentine-trained goldsmith and devout Christian very close to our community: Vincent Hawley. Vincent was contacted in early November and, on his return from Italy, a first meeting to discuss the project was held in late December. Over the next month the outlines of the project were completed and Vincent submitted a draft design for the chalice based on surviving fifth and sixth century examples but modified to conform to modern canonical requirements and reflecting his personal design ethos. The paten would be a smaller version of the one from the Water Newton hoard believed to date from the late fourth or early fifth century and typical of the form used through the seventh century.

By February 2013 — although still awaiting news from Rome — it seemed work should be begun: practically — if the work were to be completed by Saint Gregory’s Feast in early September — and, more importantly, with a conscious exercise of boldness of spirit and trust in the Lord. Vincent first turned his hand to creating the wax model for the medallion of Saint Gregory, based on the earliest English portrait of the Saint — an illuminated initial from what may well have been the Venerable Bede’s own copy of his History of the English Church.

Father Liias’ rescript, ensuring his Ordination — the last to be signed by the founder of the Ordinariates — was confirmed by Pope Benedict in mid-February; once dates for his Diaconal and Priestly Ordinations had been set the project was made public with a letter sent to the community and its friends. This was followed by a second letter about a month later. The generous contributions which resulted raised half the required sum of $22,500 and allowed work to begin in earnest with the purchase of silver and commencement of work on the chalice’s body.

At this point, Vincent said of the project and his work so far “I think this endeavor has been blessed from the start and am ecstatic to get started!…I’m learning what it takes for me to make such an exquisite liturgical object; just how important and deep the meditation and spiritual focus is for me…This continues to be a great spiritual journey for me and it is truly a blessing to be able to do it. I have always tried to make work for the glory of God, but making liturgical items is different — it is extremely satisfying spiritually and truly an honor for our Lord.”

In July 2013 (half-way through the project if we were to meet our goal of consecrating the vessels in September) a third letter was sent asking all to discern whether they were called to help raise the second half of the monies required to complete the work (ten thousand dollars). Through the generosity the Spirit stirred up as well as the faithfulness of Vincent Hawley the vessels were able to be completed in time to be consecrated on our first Feast of Title and Dedication on September Eighth.  This was joyously announced  in a fourth and final letter dated August 29th, 2013.  A short video showing some of the high points of that festive event will be found below.

We continue to raise funds to create other liturgical appointments matching these Sacred Vessels, based on models from the time of the Gregorian Mission: a Processional Cross; Thurible and Incense Boat; Pair of Candle Sticks; and Situla and Aspergillum are among the most likely next projects. If you are a craftsman and feel called to be part of this endeavor or if you feel prompted to assist through a donation of any size, please contact us.

The original proposal here. – 3.6.13
Sacred Vessels Proposal Follow-Up – 4.5.13
Sacred Vessels Proposal Second Follow-Up – 6.25.13
Sacred Vessels Proposal Third and Final Follow-Up – 8.29.13
Father Liias’ Letter – 8.27.13
Memorial Donations to Sacred Vessels Fund  – 9.8.13

The Chalice and Paten were received and consecrated on September 8th, 2013. This short video shows highlights of both ceremonies: Vincent Hawley presents the work of his hands; the consecration of the Sacred Vessels.