When I was a little girl, sister explained how altars have altar stones - and how those altar stones have relics. And how when the priest kissed the altar, he was kissing the area just over the altar stone. Another reinforcement for the conscept of "the communion of saints." I was always very impressed by this, and in my days of teaching CCD (catechetical instruction, for you folks outside the US) I always made it a point to show the children the altar stone, when I gave a lesson on all the objects in the church and what the priest wears to Mass, etc.
About 15 years ago, our parish underwent needed structural repairs (in our case to make it MUCH more sound in event of an earthquake. Unfortunately, along with ANY renovation, comes the wreckovation gangstas from the diocese. Overall, we did pretty well in the processs, people literally rising up to tell Fr. Muckety-Muck (from the diocesan office) and his Protestant hired henchwoman "consultant" to take a flying leap off a short pier. However, not to make "too many waves" and get his head cut off, the then pastor felt compelled to install a newer altar, one of those square hunks of "blah." NO ALTAR STONE. The old altar was put in storage, AND eventually "restored" although not IN the church. Well, with this "Restoration" I notice the Altar Stone is GONE. I notice a new "top" to the altar. Is the stone buried under that new top? The present pastor isn't the sort you'd ask about that kind of thing. But DAMMIT, what happened to it?
Where did people get the idea that simply because you want to be able to understand the Mass instantaneously, and see what the priest is doing, then *obviously* you want Kumbaya second rate CRAP? When churches were being built left and right, and wreckovated NO ONE said: We want crappy wooden bowls, damn terry cloth hand towels instead of proper finger towels, get rid of patens, altar rails, and take out glorious sanctuary lamps, bells (some places don't have them at all), we want lame-ass songs, put in abstract art stations, etc.
How to remedy this?
First, kill all the hippies. Wait. No. Too extreme. And if you kill them you take the chance of not feeling sorry for the sin. So. Perhaps we can have a death watch on diocesan hippies? You know how it's kind of sad when the last survivor of a war passes, all that living history goes. Maybe we can make a map, and as each diocese's hippies are all gone, we can gradually color the diocese gold. Sort of like the Hoover Institute keeps a watch on how free societies are politically.
Honestly, I feel like taking a hostage until that stone is returned to its rightful place. ON THE ALTAR. IN CHURCH.