When I first arrived I took one look at the church steeple then out to the water and had a thought: a star would look awesome up there! It remained just a thought for quite some time, but last year I mentioned it to the Knights of Columbus and it started to materialize. As a kid growing up we had a giant star tied to the top of a giant cross outside of the parish I grew up in. My father was running a window cleaning company at the time and since he had access to tall ladders and wasn’t afraid to climb them he got asked to mount the star each year. Now there are several reasons to have boys and one of the most important is so that you have someone to carry things and Dad always took me along.
I wouldn’t climb ladders but I was real good at the aforementioned carrying of things so each year we would head up shortly before the First Sunday of Advent to put the star up. Some 35 feet in the air it provided quite a beacon for the surrounding neighborhood signaling the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. Upon my arrival here I saw not just a beacon for the neighborhood, but the whole bay and over to the San Juans. Perched atop our church I figured it could be seen for miles around and would definitely become the talk of the area.
At first my vision was for a star about 25 feet tall and 8 or 9 feet wide, it needed to be real big to be seen from the islands, but this proved to be a little much. Upon further inspection I was informed that the steeple couldn’t hold anything of that size and as it turned out due to the winds that sweep through from time to time even a small star wouldn’t do up there because of the kite effect. One of the Knights suggested that we mount it on the front of the rectory where it could find a sturdier mount and had a little more wind protection.
While the size is much more modest than my original plan I still think we will be visible for quite a distance. The finished product is about 6 feet tall. Made with wrapped lights around the perimeter and a large flood light in the center it promises to be a noble symbol of the coming Messiah. Due to Thanksgiving week constraints at the time of writing I have yet to see the finished product in person, but with any luck it should be present and mounted by the time of you reading this. We’ll have it on a timer so that it can light up the evening sky even if I’m not around to plug it in. I am super excited to see it up and hope it lives up to my hype. Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen