Catholic High School Sees Return of the Altar Rail


There is more great news to report out of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. A few months back I wrote about the establishment of St. Joseph’s College Seminary and the ongoing boom in seminarians for the diocese. Now this exciting news from Charlotte Catholic High School: the altar rail has returned!

The beautifully carved rail was recently installed in the high school’s daily chapel (pictured above), and is part of an ongoing effort to restore tradition and sacred beauty to the school’s liturgies.

The rail itself was made by Catholic artist and woodcarver Jacob Benjamin Wolfe who previously designed the altar rail for Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, as well as the altar and tabernacle for the previously mentioned St. Joseph’s College Seminary. Jacob, whose company is called Ars Coeli, explains his mission as follows:

Ars Coeli has a twofold meaning to its name. It translates to “art of the chisel” and “art of heaven,” both of which this business endeavors to accomplish. Ars Coeli’s mission is to provide beauty, insight, and possibility to all Catholic churches.

Yet another wonderful aspect to this story is the manner in which the rail was paid for. A teacher at the school raised the money to fund the project in memory of a younger brother who passed away.

The icing on the cake for this story of liturgical renewal will occur this upcoming Holy Week when the high school chapel hosts the first ever Traditional Latin Easter Triduum in the Charlotte diocese (which was established in 1971).

Let us hope that more Catholic schools in the coming years are inspired to also bring back the altar rail for their students.

Photo credit: Carmen de Cárcer

Posted on April 2, 2017, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Dave Wygonowski

    Awesome!!! Step in the right direction…

  2. When I was a little kid in Catholic school, I thought that the communion rail was supposed to separate me-a sinner-from Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  3. I appreciate the sentiment, but that altar rail will hinder, not help, kneeling for Communion. Picture older people trying to kneel on that tall tile step, while the rail is also set too far back to grasp for support. Clearly these people don’t understand the mechanics of getting on one’s knees, but perhaps they will learn.

  4. Beautiful, and what good news!

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