It is with great honor that I present our new Church of Divine Mercy. After over 25 years of waiting the day finally arrived. This past Saturday Nov. 16 was our dedication Mass, the day when a building became our Church. Over 1,200 people waited outside for the church doors to open. The crowds slowly filed into the dark dark church for over ten minutes, with beautiful music welcoming them in. It was such a wonderful experience! I kept looking around in awe of the beauty of our Catholic church. To think about how millions of new churches around the world have the same traditions, rites and celebrate this exact Mass was priceless. The dedication Mass is the Baptism of our Church. Archbishop Aymond presented the keys to the Church to Fr. David. They blessed the building with holy water and later with the oil of Chrism, which is used in baptisms and confirmations. Archbishop Aymond poured Chrism all over the Altar and the walls were anointed with oil as well. The Archbishop also placed a relic of St. Faustina beneath the altar.
After the anointing, parishioners processed in with the Paschal Candle, and the Archbishop sad "Light of Christ, Shine forth in the Church and bring all nations to the fullness of truth." Finally, the lights were turned on, and a round of applause broke out. Just like before baptism we are in darkness and become a true member of our Church and we are anointed with water and Chrism and are welcomed into the LIGHT.
As the lights were turned on everyone rejoiced at the sight of our new place of worship, I looked around at everyone's faces of pure elation and tears of joy! I kept thinking how joyful I am and I've only been here for about three years; I thought about how much more special this is for the parishioners that have been waiting for over 25 years. What a joy! What a gift!. The entire Mass was gorgeous, but on a personal note, my favorite moment of the entire Mass was seeing everyone finally kneel down for the consecration. As many of you know the St. Elizabeth site didn't have kneelers, so many people would stay standing, which was an acceptable practice.However it always made me long for the day when our bodies reflected the spiritual reality of the Sacrifice of the Mass. I shed tears of joy and said finally Lord, you are getting the honor you deserve! On this day we were a part of history! Many people may be asking "Why is this so important?" Well the visible structure of the church reflects the Church dwelling in heaven. It reflects the pilgrim Church on Earth that is dedicated solely to worship God, especially through the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass and the other Sacraments. All of the liturgical furnishing, the gold, the beauty, the entire building is made to point us to Heaven! This is our mission, to allow this Church to take us deeper into our faith, because at the end of the day it's not so much about this building as it is about Divine Mercy, as a parish, and our membership in the body of Christ.
So let's take action, let's get involved let's make this an opportunity to get more involved in our parish and to spend more time in prayer especially in our Adoration Chapel. May the Lord truly transform our hearts today and always.
Ryan began using his gifts for the church shortly after high school starting with music ministry at his parish and then on to campus ministry at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has since also served as a parish youth minister and Coordinator of Adolescent Formation. Ryan shares the good news of the gospel hoping to compassionately inspire a response to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and "become fishers of men." Ryan currently serves as full time Youth Minister here at Divine Mercy Parish.