The Dedication of the Altar

Dear friends in Christ:

Although construction is not complete, we are blessed to have Cardinal DiNardo with us next Saturday to dedicate our new altar and to bless our renovations. In addition to the Cardinal, our special guest will be Fr. Patrice Antoine Chocholski, the pastor of Ars sur Formans, France, the successor of St. John Vianney. He is bringing with him, for our use at the celebrations, the chalice of St, John Vianney. In this week’s bulletin and on our website will be the list of activities. I hope you and your family will make every effort to join us. So as to make sure we have enough food and drink at the reception following the Mass of Dedication, please try to e-mail us to help us get a count. This will be a good time to greet the Cardinal and to meet Fr. Patrice. We will also have receptions in the Activity Center following each Sunday morning Mass.

As to construction, every day we are awaiting word on certain elements that are continuing to hold up progress and completion. The two biggest items for the north side are the doors and the skylight. The contractors are hoping to have the south side of the narthex completed in April. In this area will be the Shrine to St. John Vianney and a devotional space. The pipe organ was on schedule and progressing beautifully. Then suddenly a few months ago, there was a delay due to a small element that was being fabricated by a supplier to the organ company without which work could not proceed. We are hoping to have the organ arrive soon and begin installation in May. We have a similar situation with the bells. The bells have been here since November but we have been awaiting the fabrication and delivery of the rack in which they will hang. After months of delay from the original fabricator, the bell company has worked out an agreement with our General Contractor to have the rack manufactured here in Texas. This seems like a simple and easy move, but it is not. Unfortunately, there are legal issues involved and that means lawyers! Happily, the attorneys seem to have solved the outstanding issues and we are hoping for installation in about six weeks or so. There are still a few pieces coming from overseas. We are hoping that they arrive for the dedication. If not, we will accept them and be happy when they arrive.

It is our hope to have a nice book published with photography once all the construction is completed and everything is in place. Until then, I would like to offer a little explanation of some of the elements you can see. The principal themes of the Church’s architecture are layers and light. From afar one can see the new campanile (bell tower) with 14 bells and a golden cross that harken and witness the living presence of Christ’s gospel in west Houston. Entering onto the property, one begins a journey to the holy. Through the winding entrance drive into the parking area one proceeds to the courtyard plaza through the new portico crowned with an 8’ tall golden cross. As one enters into the courtyard plaza the image of Jesus with outstretched arms welcomes us into the love of His Sacred Heart. He invites us to come into the House of the Lord. Walking through a second portico, we pass through a small atrium filled with natural light. Entering the narthex, we continue the journey. The new marble floor with a serpentine pattern, represents the bends and turns of life, our earthly pilgrimage. From the northern entrance as well as the southern entrance, we intersect the east/west pattern design of the marble at the original baptismal font of the parish which now serves as the main holy water font and a reminder of our baptism into the new life of divine grace in Jesus.

The east/west axis leads from the altar of the Chapel to the new main altar of the Church. Facing the Church we are greeted by the statues of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Prince of the Apostles and the Apostle to the Gentiles. Throughout the Church are statues of the saints who intercede for us before the heavenly throne and who inspire us by their holy lives.

In Pace Christi,

Fr. Troy Gately