Today I attended the dedication of the new church in the parish where I had ministered for seven years. It was great to see so many people with whom I had worked over those years at such an exciting celebration. The church was packed. There was an excitement that was easily felt. It had been raining most of the day, but it stopped just a little before 3 p.m., which was when the service began. Part of the Rite for the Dedication of a Church and Altar is to begin outside, where the archbishop hands the keys for the building to the pastor. The church is then unlocked and people get to go in and see the inside for the first time. As everyone entered past the baptismal font that had just been blessed, and down the center aisle, eyes were looking around, down, and up. The stained glass windows, Stations of the Cross, Mary and Joseph statues had been renewed and brought over from the old church that was just too small. After the recitation of the Creed, we called on the saints by singing the Litany of the Saints. The altar and the walls at four different places were anointed with sacred Chrism. The altar and the church were incensed as a sign of our prayers going to heaven. This dedication rite is a beautiful one that is full of significance. During the homily, we were reminded that today we are dedicating the church building, but we have to remember that we are the church, the living Body of Christ. I kind of think that this parish gets that. Hopefully, as the parish grows that message will never be forgotten.
– Blog entry and photo by Sister Ann Clark