Q: Hope you’re well! Quick question regarding chapter 3 in Dedication Ritual. No. 9 states:
9. The Bishop, accompanied by Deacons, sprinkles the people with holy water; then, if the altar is completely new, he sprinkles it also.
But the Introduction no. 1 says it’s prohibited to dedicate unless also dedicating the altar. Is it allowed to dedicate an altar that’s already been dedicated? Is this referring to an altar that’s been partially renovated? For example, if there’s a new mensa, but the rest of the altar is the same that’s been used for a long time…then you don’t sprinkle it? Or is it vice versa, that if the mensa is the same, but the rest is new, you could dedicate it, but would not sprinkle it?
Peace and All Good!
A: Good to hear from you.
Here’s how I answered it in my book New Church, New Altar:
“This probably accounts for the possibility that the altar has been previously blessed according to the ceremony in Chapter VI; such an altar will be anointed with chrism in this ritual but not sprinkled in purification because of its prior use.”
If it’s a new mensa, I’d consider it a new altar and sprinkle it.