The Pipe Organ for the New Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville
The new organ to be installed at OLR was built in 1994 by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, IL. Wicks has been building pipe organs for over 100 years, and has a reputation of producing high-quality instruments with superior sound and tonal configuration.
Our particular organ has 21 ranks of pipes with a Great division and a Swell division under expression, and a 2 manual, detached, draw knob console with pedal board. The organ was originally built for another church that planned to move to a new building. This organ was removed from their old church and stored. When the economy declined in the 1990s, so did their financial situation and with it their plans for a new worship space.
After several years in storage, the owners decided to let this organ go to a new home. That is how OLR was able to obtain this fine instrument for our new church. Wicks Organ Company will be reconfiguring, revoicing and reconditioning this pipe organ for the specific environment of the new Our Lady of the Rosary Church.
The console is pictured below and the drawing shows how the exterior pipes will frame the beautiful rose window in the west gallery of the church. The video at the top of the page shows the organ being played in Wicks’ warehouse. Please take a moment now to read an important letter from Fr. Longenecker about the project. Below Fr. Longenecker’s letter is a button that will enable you to contribute instantly to this exciting undertaking.
Click to enlarge the pictures below:
In Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963, it is stated that “… the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.”
Why is a pipe organ so important to Catholic worship that it would actually be recommended in formal church documents?
Those who have heard good organ music will know that the music from a pipe organ, with its deep, sonorous sounds and piping music, touches parts of the human heart that the music of other instruments cannot touch. The majestic volume, rumbling depth and breathtaking music of a well-played pipe organ accomplishes through music what beautiful architecture and art does for the eyes—it lifts our human spirit. It opens us to beauty, and as we apprehend beauty a noble and profoundly human aspect of our lives opens up to the beauty, truth and goodness of God. Organ music pulls back the curtain between this world and the next and helps us to experience the majesty, glory and worship at the very court of heaven.
Pope Benedict XVI put it this way—he said that pipe organs can proclaim the Gospel in their own way. On Sept. 13, 2006, in his visit to Regensburg, Germany, he blessed the pipe organ of the Old Chapel, where his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, was once director. The Pope added how pleased he was that this organ “helps people perceive something of the splendor of our faith — a splendor kindled by the Holy Spirit himself. With it, the organ carries out an evangelizing function, and proclaims the Gospel in its own way.”
As we finish the new church at Our Lady of the Rosary parish, we have been able to obtain a modest, but excellent salvaged organ from an old church. This organ, when fitted, will be worth over $600,000 but we were able to purchase it for just over $160,000. We are very excited about this decision, even though it seemed impossible at first. This autumn the church will be completed and the organ installed.
Not only will weekly worship at the new Our Lady of the Rosary be enhanced, but weddings, funerals and special occasions will be enriched and magnified by the splendid music of a pipe organ well played. With a fine pipe organ we can educate our children in the glories of Catholic worship and prayer. The children and young people will learn to sing well and praise God with the best music available. The choir will flourish. Students with musical talent will be able to take organ lessons and practice on this fine instrument. With this organ we will be able to nurture our beautiful Catholic traditions and pass on the riches of our worship to the next generation.
Thank you for your time and enthusiasm for the beautiful new church and pipe organ in our parish!
Fr. Dwight Longenecker