Continuing the Vision
Dear Friends in Christ:
We are now entering an exciting phase in our building renovation project. The steel going up for the new bell tower and the marble floor being laid can now be seen. Soon the mosaics and the liturgical furniture will be installed and the new parking lot is nearing completion. There is still a great amount of work to do and it is going to be few more months before the project will be completed, but we can see things taking shape. As we move forward and eagerly look ahead, it is important for us to remind ourselves of a few important realities.
First, our building project is not about the building! This campaign was undertaken to commemorate our 50th Anniversary as a parish. It is officially called Continuing the Vision and that is what we are ultimately aiming to do. We aim to continue the vision of the mission of Christ in our little part of the world. This project, in which we desire to enhance our parish structures, is actually more about our desire to continually give God our best in everything.
D.O.M. – Deo Optimo et Maximo – To God the Greatest and the Best!
Our sacrifices and offerings manifest our desire of giving God glory in everything, in our service of others, in our words, in the liturgy, in the formation of youth and adults, in building up and celebrating our parish community, in our attitudes and in our prayer. Secondly, intrinsic and essential to our Catholic faith is that we are incarnational. Just as Jesus, the Eternal Word, assumed real human flesh to manifest God the Father’s love and to bring us salvation on the wood of the cross, our faith is not immaterial or void of matter. The Lord Jesus has given us the sacraments as means of his grace. We encounter that grace through water, oil, bread and wine, words spoken and hands laid. As Catholics, we are neither Quietists nor practitioners of Zen. We live and express our faith and beliefs with matter and form. We light candles and incense, sprinkle Holy Water, paint icons, build beautiful buildings, sing glorious music, carve statues, have processions, proclaim the word aloud with our voices, kneel, stand, make the sign of the cross, bow our heads and wear vestments. We feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, bury the dead, visit the sick and imprisoned, admonish sinners and comfort the sorrowful. We express ourselves and our faith in very demonstrable and material ways. We are not Manicheans or Albigensians or any of their modern day successors, who believe matter is bad or evil. We are Catholic. We reject the dualist notion that matter is bad or evil and only the spiritual and non-material is good. We believe the world was created good. While the world has been stained by the sin of man and suffers the effects of sin, creation remains a good gift to us from God, our creator.
Another important reality that we should keep in mind is that while we are indeed blessed to participate in this project and hopefully enjoy and benefit from the beauty that surrounds us and aids us in our worship of God, it is not ultimately for our own benefit. This is a gift to God and for all of those who come after us. It is an outward sign to all who see the cross high on the dome or hear the ringing of the bells that God is known and loved in this place and calls all people to Himself. This place is more than just a meeting hall. In Catholic theology, understanding and belief, a church has more than simply a utilitarian purpose. A church building is a monument, not to us or for us, but to the God who saves us. This place is a temple of true worship. We desire and pray that people years from now will be drawn to this holy temple and encounter the truth, beauty and goodness of the One God, Father of All, His Only Son, Jesus, the Redeemer of the World and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately