Saturday, April 17, 2010

When a building becomes a church

We've been "Making A Place At The Table" for more than a year and a half now. This afternoon, the structure we've all been watching on this blog stopped being a construction project, stopped being a building and instead became a church.

It happened at 3:00pm, according to Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio, during his remarks at the end of a wonderful rite of dedication.

Some 1,200 parishioners, priests and other special guests gathered outside on a beautiful spring day to begin the rite of dedication. This was the first church dedication I've ever attended, and I found the experience moving.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis led the ceremony, sprinkling holy water on the walls of the church. He used chrism on the altar, rubbing the mixture of olive oil and balsam into the marble surface to consecrate it. Then it was time for the incense.

The perfumed smoke rose high from the altar, up to the bottom of our crucifix. As it rose, the sunlight coming in through the clerestory windows caught it and created an interesting effect.

Can you see how the light from the windows looks like beams coming in from above?  I heard a lot of folks commenting about this moment after the dedication. Then preparations were made at the altar to ready it for Mass, and that Mass completed the ceremony.

Some of  you may be wondering: did the church fit 1,200 people inside? How many were left standing? None. We all had a seat, and frankly, I think we could have fit another 50 people inside the main sanctuary comfortably -- and that's not counting the day chapel. We all had seats and elbow room.

Afterward a lovely reception filled the cloister area outside the church -- and I bet we can expect to see more of them. I overheard Tom Martin telling folks who asked how the walkways were designed wide enough to hold tables and still provide room to pass by, making it a perfect spot for special events and other celebrations. 

As Monsignor said in his closing remarks, we should remember that this ceremony isn't the ending of a project, it's really a beginning. 

1 comment:

  1. you're on the ball getting this posted!
    thanks for the blog