“You summon us, Creating God, to meet on holy ground.”
These words that we all sung together, and reiterated by Bishop Trautman, resonated deeply for all of us as we celebrated the 150th anniversary of our church. It was a day when our Catholic faith shined so brightly in a standing room only church, sharing barbeque and bluegrass, and yes, even sharing with each other an ice cream treat. It all showed what we know about “holy ground”, namely that the Lord is present where two or three are gathered in His name.
Holy Ground: our church is holy ground because it is here that we experience the Lord’s presence in Word and Sacrament, in His chosen people, and in His Spirit of Love present in us. Last week we celebrated not only the people who built this church 150 years ago; we showed God’s presence in our lives and our ministering with each other. We were blessed by a beautiful hymn written by a famous compose. Yet the words only came alive in all the people in our music ministry and when all of us with them roared out that song from our devoted hearts who understood the words only too well.
We were delighted to bless our new church doors not simply because of their physical beauty, but because they are symbols of our life as welcoming, hospitable community. So our celebration occurred because of so much hard work by our planning committee, preparing food and hosting guests, delighting in the hundreds who wanted to be with each other for this special day. Knights and scouts, sodality sisters, generous volunteers, our brother maintenance workers and all our staff humbly worked without acclaim to bring out in the best, the joy of faith in all our parishioners!
No rain or cold could dampen our enthusiasm to pray and celebrate with each other!
I hope that the celebration of our church’s anniversary has made us all more aware of sacred times and sacred places because of the sacred Spirit planted in people’s hearts. I hope we are more eager to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament because we have seen so clearly what love is in our midst. I hope we will all sing more fervently and boldly because every tune and lyric reflects our faith experiences with each other. I hope we see all the artwork and symbols not as décor, but as expressions from the hearts of artists who know what is in our hearts!
Thank you, dear beloved parishioners, for venerating, praying and loving in our holy church. I will never forget the true experience and genuine meaning of what we sang together: “How lovely, how lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.” I am with you, always,
In prayer and Spirit,
Reverend Jerome E. Kopec