Sanctuary and Main Altar – St. Joseph Church, Tobias, NE

The sanctuary is the clear focal point situated on the eastern end of the worship space beneath an arched-shaped patterned tin ceiling, and framed within a wood trimmed similarly-shaped archway supported by decoratively-carved wooden columns topped by Corinthian capitals.

The high altar, the front altar table, the ambo, as well as the side altars are all surfaced with a white, marble-like appearance. They have embellishments of gold and marble-like columns to render the location fittingly majestic for the King of Heaven and Earth appearing as the Infant Jesus of Prague in the center of the back altar.

The elevated high altar is an original fixture of traditional design extending two-thirds of the way up the back wall of the sanctuary. It was donated by a member of the original building committee, Joseph Lorenz. Near the top, middle of the altar is a golden-backed niche beneath a cross-topped ciborium (also called a baldachin) supported by two marble-decorated columns. Within the niche is a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague, a revered image in Czech-Catholic churches. The crowned Infant Jesus is dressed in a white, gold-adorned garment with a red cape. He raises His right hand in supplication and in His left hand holds a blue orb (the Earth) encircled by a perpendicularly-intersecting golden bands with a cross on the top. The small King’s garment is decorated with an image of His Sacred Heart, a cross on a pendant, a crown with fleur-de-lis and a golden lamb backed by rays of grace. All are symbols of the majesty, innocence and mercy of Jesus who came to the earth as an infant in a manger.

Directly below Infant Jesus is a sacred tabernacle within a portico embellished on either side with marble-like columns. The tabernacle covering is an arched door of frosted gold with an etching of a chalice supported by two cherubs with a host overhead radiating grace. The decorative back altar also has six niches distributed on either side of Infant Jesus. The niches hold illustrations of three white-petaled flowers on green floral stems painted on a gold mosaic background. The niches are separated by marble-like columns and above them are decorative carvings and spires.

On either side of the back altar are bowing angels holding golden candlesticks that were donated by one of the founding building committee members, Joseph Laun and his wife Anna in 1913.

%d bloggers like this: