Sanctuary and Main Altar – St. Wenceslaus Church, Wilber, NE

The sanctuary and altar at the north end of the building are physically demarcated by white tile flooring which is elevated by two steps above the seating area. A wood canopy (also known as a baldachin or ciborium) hangs over the altar to emphasize the importance and centrality of the altar within the church where the sacrifice of the Cross is made present.

The backwall is painted with a white figure of a tall pointed arch that frames the Crucifix; and similar, smaller arches are painted on the wall to the right of the altar to highlight the statues mounted there.

On the wall at the back of the sanctuary is an attractive wood Crucifix with Christ’s body hanging below the parchment inscribed with INRI (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”). Each end of the Cross arms is decorated with a crossed-leaf design of gold and at the vertices of the Cross is a square radiating streams behind the head of the dead Savior.

The back altar holds an intricately-designed gold tabernacle flanked by tall golden candle sticks; and in front is a matching wood altar table with routed designs and covered with a liturgical cloth.

On the left of the sanctuary is a large (5 feet by 7 feet) oil painting of the patron St. Wenceslaus. This painting was purchased in Czechoslovakia around 1882 by the second pastor of the parish Fr. Filip Maly, S.J. (Society of Jesus, a.k.a The Jesuits). The painting shows the haloed saint in royal attire on his knees looking upward to heaven. At his right is a grape vine and his left hand reaches upward possibly signifying his consent to God; and illustrating the Gospel passage, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) The painting is trimmed in a gold frame and retains its vibrant colors after being refurbished in the 1990’s during the administration of Father Panzer.

On the right side of the sanctuary are statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. John Nepomucene, St. John the Baptist and Jesus; as well as a baptismal font.

Restorations and renovations to the interior of the church were done in 1956, 1975 and 1997 – including the sanctuary, altar, side altars and statues. Father Edward Szczech oversaw the 1956 work; and Father Beranek the 1975 work.

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