The main church tries to update its sanctuary with a rock from the Black Hills
LEAD, SD (KOTA) – Father Leo Hausmann of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church said he was visiting the lead Sandford Visitor Center when he was inspired by an exposed polished stone.
At around the same time, the diocese was running its Living the Mission campaign, “and every parish had to find a parish case element for their part of that campaign,” Hausmann said. “We thought it was time to update our sanctuary. So I thought of this altar.
In his mind? A stone altar, inspired by the polished rock he had seen in the center.
“A weathered stone is really preferable because it has an Old Testament connection,” Hausmann explained.
But he didn’t want just any rock, he wanted an altar made from a local stone.
Hausmann said he initially wanted to remove something from the surface mine, but that process proved too difficult.
Instead, retired ward member and geologist Lyle Steffen was driving one day when he noticed a boulder outside Rochford.
“As a geologist… he recognized that it would be basically the same composition that I had examined. And that’s how we came across this particular rock, ”said Hausmann.
Steffen said the rock did not form here because the continents have changed over time, but believes it is Precambrian rock about 1.88 billion years old.
“It was posed like a lava flow at one point. It used to be a basalt and now it has been metamorphosed into amphibolite and it also contains iron formation inclusions and that’s what this particular rock is. His iron formation abandoned. These are layers of dirt and minerals rich in iron, ”said Steffen who believes these minerals contribute to the rock’s distinct color.
Tests have determined that the stone retains “excellent” structural integrity. The next step is to get permission from the bishop to continue with the rest of the project.
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