Thursday, March 27, 2014

10th Anniversary of Dedication

 Today is the 10th anniversary of the dedication of our monastery church!  It is hard for us old timers to believe that a decade has gone by.  But we are grateful for our memories and even more grateful that we have youngsters to whom we can tell the memories!  It was a joy to hear our Postulant Mary read some of the accounts that we wrote at the time and to share at recreation more of that momentous day in our lives.  Here is one's Sister's story:

At the open house there was an exceptionally large crowd of people (approximately a thousand) who came for the two days of touring parts of the monastery the weekend before and the morning before the Dedication Mass. What a joy it was to share with them the beauty of the monastery and its surroundings, with its spirit of quiet, prayer, and peacefulness.

It was this spirit that we had tried to maintain throughout those days in preparation for the upcoming significant events. This was quite a challenge as the big day drew near. Open house was only two days away and there was not a sign of the choir grille as yet. And Premier Millwork Company was still working on the choir furnishings up till the day before the dedication.

But when all was done (well, almost) in God's good time ... oh, what a transformation! Sister Pius' burning bush design on paper came to life in the choir grille. One indeed feels she is standing on holy ground. The big double doors that close in front of the tabernacle during the Eucharistic celebration give one the sense of transcendence, that this is the Holy of Holies. The sacred space now only awaits the real Presence of its Lord.

This is the place where God has chosen to dwell among His people. The day of Dedication dawned with excitement in the air. There was one more chance for the people to tour the first floor of the monastery, this time reserved for those who came from a further distance. As soon as the last person walked out the door, the Franciscan brothers from the Holy Land province were on hand to roll up the hall rugs. Yes, all is ready!

All were gathered at the doors to choir for the entrance procession, and so unfolded the glorious Dedication Mass. Bishop Emeritus, Walter F. Sullivan and about twelve 'priests, including Father Abbot Robert Barnes from Holy Cross Abbey in Barryville, came to concelebrate. The whole ceremony of Dedication was moving. One of the high points for me was the anointing of the altar, for isn't Christ Himself, the altar, the priest, and the sacrifice? And when the lights were turned on in the sanctuary area, and the candles were lit during the lighting of the altar and the church, everything was as if aflame with God's love and Presence. And right after Holy Communion the Blessed Sacrament was reserved. Finally, we are really home!

"Remember not the events ofthe past; the things oflong ago consider not. See, I am doing something new!" (Isaiah 43: 18-19) Yes, the Poor Clare saga of moving from Newport News to Barhamsville is past. Behold! God makes all things new. 

Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares on Mount St. Francis, with its monastery church, is now dedicated to God for His praise and worship

1 comment:

Kimberly Paradiso said...

Blessed Anniversary to all!