Bishop reopens the Cathedral campus and dedicates the altar on Feb. 2 By Christopher M. Riggs In the midst of one of the most beautiful church settings in the state, Bishop Michael O. Jackels reminded those in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that the church is more than a building and, instead, is better understood as the union of the Christian faithful. “THE church is a spiritual edifice, built with living stones,” he said. “Namely, you and me, the Christian faithful, we are the living, true, and holy temples of God.” Bishop Jackels talked about the spiritual dimension of the church at the reopening of the Cathedral campus and the dedication of the Cathedral Altar Mass Saturday, Feb. 2. The Cathedral is a symbol of the unity of the diocesan church family, Bishop Jackels said, where, ideally, everyone in the diocese would gather for Mass with the bishop. “But as this is not practical, parish churches are established, suggesting that parishes are, figuratively speaking, born from the cathedral,” he said in his homily, “which is why we call the Cathedral the mother church of the diocese. We are this church, this church is us.”
Bishop Jackels said the mystical relationship that exists between the people – the living stones of the church – and a church building, how the Cathedral is built, decorated, and maintained is an illustrated lesson of who we are to be and what we are to do in order that we might reflect the glory of God and the dignity of Christians. For example, he said, the church building was repaired and damage was fixed. “We, the living stones of the church, are always in need of reform. This church was made more accessible so that anyone can – aided or unaided – enter, approach, be involved,” he said. “We, the living stones of the church, make our message, our lives accessible, working to bring people together for worship, learning, teaching, service.” The church was made more hospitable through better lighting, improved sound, and additional space, Bishop Jackels said. “We, the living stones of the church, imitate Jesus by caring about and for others, concerned about their comfort and needs.” In another comparison, Bishop Jackels said the Cathedral was beautified by adding color and different works of art “out of a desire to ennoble man and to speak of God without using words.” The people of the church use words to teach others about Jesus, Bishop Jackels said, “But we also use the beauty of our practice of virtue and works of mercy.” God is using the Cathedral building to form THE church, he said, adding that God is using the Cathedral as an assembly for the liturgy of praise and thanksgiving. “The assembly shows the real nature of the true church,” Bishop Jackels said. “This is who we are: people who praise, thank, and worship God.” That leads to what we do, he said, preparing us for the liturgy of service outside the church doors. “What God uses to form us for the liturgy of both praise and of service…is the altar: the focal point for the assembly gathered for Holy Mass,” Bishop Jackels said. “The altar is a symbol of Jesus, a visible sign of the mystery of Christ. “On the altar, during Holy Mass, the sacrifice Jesus offered once and for all is mystically made present under the signs of bread and wine. The altar therefore represents Jesus’ gift of self in service and sacrifice.”
The altar also represents Jesus’ gift of himself, he said, the only true and worthy gift that can be given to the Father to redeem us from sin and death. “God calls the faithful to gather together around the altar of sacrifice where participation is expressed best in the offering we make of ourselves, joining our gift of self to Jesus’ gift of self in service and sacrifice.” At the offertory, Bishop said, all that is offered is collectively symbolized in bread and wine presented to the priest and placed on the altar, changed into the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Jesus. “And when we say Amen at the end of the Great Prayer, we mystically link our gift of self and the one Jesus offered on Calvary hill.” That spiritual food nourishes and strengthens us to become more and more like Jesus to go into the world to make an offering of their own lives, he said. The ceremony was attended by nearly all of the priests of the diocese and most of the active and retired bishops of Kansas, in addition to Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., both who were ordained as priests of the Diocese of Wichita. At the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Jackels blessed the baptismal font which was moved from the east transept to the entrance of the church, as a sign that the sacrament of baptism is the gateway to the other sacraments and the beginning of new life. After the Liturgy of the Word, Bishop Jackels dedicated and anointed the altar with chrism and incensed the altar with a bowl on the altar and using a censer around the altar. The music for the Mass was provided by the Cathedral choir, the Cathedral Spanish choir, the St. Theresa Vietnamese Choir, and Carol Pracht, organist, who were all led by Jim Jones, the Cathedral choir director. The refurbished organ, featured in a previous edition of the Advance, will soon have a protective cover which is being donated by Harry Funke of Morgan-Bulleigh Upholstery in Wichita. He is a member of St. James Parish, Augusta.
Additional pictures of the Cathedral Campus reopening can be seen here.