Thursday, April 3, 2008

One of my fondest memories as an altar server was having the honor of assisting at the dedication mass for the new sanctuary in my parish. I was a freshman in high school, and actually came out of retirement to do so. I had already moved on to the role of altar server coordinator for our parish.

I remember gathering with the priests, deacons and bishop prior to the Mass. I recall processing around the outside of the church while Latin hymns were chanted. I especially remember all the neat rituals that are unique to a dedication liturgy. I will always cherish the look on our Associate Pastor's face when Bishop Rodimer took the jar of Chrism, dumped it on the newly installed hardwood altar, and worked the oil into the wood with both hands!

Rocco has dutifully provided links to the website announcing the dedication of the newest Cathedral in the United States. Lots and lots of great pictures and a really imformative worship aid that explains the theology behind the rites and rituals of the dedication liturgy. What is especially moving for me is how much of the church is consecrated simply by its use. For example, the Ambo is not consecrated by the Bishop saying a prayer over it, it is consecrated when the Word of God is first proclaimed from it!

What is also cool is how the dedication ritual mirrors our own Christian initiation. First, it is turned over to the bishop by the builders (just as our parents and Godparents present us for baptism). Then it is washed with a blessing of holy water. Next, the entire building is anointed with Chrism, just as we are when we are sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. Finally, the Eucharist is celebrated. The 'source and summit of our faith', the completion of our initiation into the Church is likewise the completion of the dedication.

However, whereas the installation of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle wraps up the initiation of a Cathedral, we are sent - "To Love and Serve the Lord." The living stones emerge from the building to take the Church out into the world!

Congratuations Galveston-Houston! May the beauty of your new Cathedral be paled only by that of the Living and Growing Church that worships there!!!

No comments: