From The Pastor’s Desk – Oct. 02, 2016

Hendel, LToday we celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the dedication of Saint Anthony church and altar, the physical space where we gather for worship, the table on which we celebrate the Eucharist and become inspired to live our faith as disciples of Christ. Through the vision of our first pastors, Fr. Leonel Noia and continued under the leadership of Father Bob Hayes and the many committee members, parishioners who contributed to this endeavor, an architect and contractor and subcontractors built the church that we enjoy today. Building a church is a collaborative effort, not without a lot of blood sweat and tears, but in the end, the Holy Spirit prevails.
The church, meaning the people of God, does something remarkable after a church is built, we don’t have a ribbon cutting, we don’t exactly have an open house, people of faith come together with the Bishop at a Sunday liturgy to dedicate and consecrate the church, the worship space and all of its features. To dedicate means “to set apart and consecrate to God for a sacred purpose; to devote to certain specific religious celebrations” from Webster’s unabridged dictionary . For us, the church is the usual place where we celebrate the sacraments, Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick. We have a unique church in that it is also the space where we dine, celebrate events to build up the community, raise funds, gather for prayer and reflection, teach children and adults, sing songs of praise and devotionally pray for our needs and the needs of others. One could say that our church is our living room, where we welcome each other, nurture one another, support each other and develop relationships as sons and daughters of Christ. We learn year by year how to be faithful people to God and to one another.
From early in the life of the universal church, places were set apart for worship, typically churches and today there are all kinds of churches depending on the need. Annually we specifically honor three churches in Rome on their date of dedication: Saint John Lateran Basilica, the Basilicas of Peter and Paul, and Saint Mary Major, three worthwhile churches to visit whenever in Rome.
From the Opening Prayer from the Anniversary of the Dedication of a church Prayers, the presider prays:
“O God, who year by year renew for us the day
When this your holy temple was consecrated,
Hear the prayers of your people
And grant that in this place
For you there may always be pure worship
And for us, fullness of redemption.
(We ask this) through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.” Amen.
May this house of prayer always be a place of safety, a shelter from the storms in life, and a place where we feel we belong, a place where we can always go no matter what and be with Christ and other people of faith.
Father Larry Hendel, Pastor

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