The Building AND the Living Stones

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Patrick Parish,

Next weekend we will be gathering to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our beautiful church building’s cornerstone blessing at the 5:00pm Vigil Mass with Bishop Malesic as our Principal Celebrant.

In his 2002 book, Heaven in Stone and Glass, Bishop Robert Barron takes the reader through some of most awe-inspiring cathedrals of the world. He offers interesting reflections on the architecture and other elements designed to inspire and evoke a sense of Heaven for those who enter these sacred spaces. He reflects on the use of light and darkness and the use of arches and stained-glass windows. A good read!

Not unlike those famous cathedrals, our own parish church enjoys many similar awe-inspiring features. The stained glass alone can captivate our imagination. Our eyes can follow along the heavenly arches with their seamless pattern. The marble altars and pulpit instruct as much as they inspire. Notice the light as the morning sun illumines the enormous space and the play of evening shadows as the sun descends in the west.

Yet, as lovely as this edifice stands and presides over this neighborhood, its very presence tells a story of those first living stones who gathered in faith and sacrificed by offering their personal first fruits – as little as they may have had – for the glory and honor of God. This sacred space echoes the songs of praise from generations of people who followed and claimed a place among the assembly, in Latin or the vernacular languages reflecting the beauty of the hearts and voices claiming Saint Patrick as their home.

Today, the building remains because of the present generation who calls this community home. We welcome into this sacred space the newly baptized and continue to nourish with Word and sacrament. We stand on the shoulders of those who paved the way and we hope to preserve a firm foundation for those who will follow.

More than the commemoration of a splendid historical building, this is a celebration of the Living Stones – every one of us – who are enriched by what we receive in this sacred space and taking that wonderful grace into the world as disciples of the Lord.

May all the Living Stones encounter Christ’s love and light as we continue to be sent forth as a community that accompanies and serves those who gather in this holy place as well as the other Living Stones who welcome us into the sanctuary of their own hearts.

May Our Blessed Lady, assumed into Heaven body and soul, intercede for the Church as we gaze toward Heaven while going forth with our pilgrimage among the stones, the glass, and the seamless arches.    

Fr. Gurnick