New Holy Savior Church blessed
Bishop Carl A. Kemme places a brazier of incense on the altar.
Bishop Carl A. Kemme promised to pray that Holy Savior’s new church will serve the local community for generations to come during a blessing and dedication Friday, Nov. 22.
Speaking to an overflow congregation of parishioners and visitors, in a church that holds 550, the bishop said he would pray that the church would serve as a place to “encounter the Risen Savior and that it may increase the faith and the love of all those who will come here to worship…and to grow together as missionary disciples, fully alive and ignited by the Holy Spirit, the enduring and redeeming Spirit of the Holy Savior.”
Bishop Kemme proud of parish
He said he was proud and inspired by what the building represented: a powerful sign of the parish’s faith and their labor of love.
The bishop opened his homily by saying his simple but sincere words would fail to adequately express the deep emotions all were feeling at the dedication: emotions of pride and accomplishment.
Only five years ago, he said, the leaders of Holy Savior’s Catholic community, with the leadership of their pastor, Father James Billinger, met with him to share their dream of a new church and school.
“While I did not know much then about Holy Savior and its history, I learned very soon that these dreams at the time would seem unlikely, if not impossible,” he said delivering the first homily from the new ambo.
Impossible becomes reality
“But tonight, after much prayer, much blood, sweat, and tears, we gather to celebrate, to truly celebrate, the impossible becoming possible: the hopes of good people fulfilled as we enter for the first time in deepest joy into this new church, right here in the heart of this neighborhood, where Holy Savior belongs, where the Catholic Church belongs to bring good news to the poor and to be a light to those who dwell in darkness.” Bishop Kemme thanked Father Billinger, describing him as a priest “who leads you with the heart of Jesus himself” and inspires him and many others to serve with greater humility.
The bishop thanked all the parishioners for their faith, for making the parish a refuge for the oppressed, and a parish where everyone is welcome.
“Your hospitality and welcome to each person who visits your community is a point of inspiration and parish pride,” he said.
Bishop thanks all involved
“To the many in our community and throughout our diocese who believe in the mission of Holy Savior and who joined us in making the kind of sacrifices that have made this new church and new academy possible, I offer my most sincere and humble thanks.”
Our greatest thanks is to God, first, last, and always,” Bishop Kemme said, “whose Holy Spirit has set the hearts of these believers on fire, a fire for mission, a fire for evangelization, a fire for building the kingdom.”
In the last few months, as the church neared its completion, the bishop said he drove by often to check on its progress.
“What inspired me was to see the church so visible in this community, set up higher than usual, to proclaim in a loud and clear way that we are here, but not necessarily we, but HE is here, the Savior, the one who can answer our deepest questions, the one who leads us through the wanderings of our lives to the promised land of heaven.”
Bishop Kemme continued to describe the Savior as one who loves with transformational love, a one who guides us through the darkness, providing light for our paths, saving us from ourselves and from Satan’s temptations. “There is no other reason to have this new church than to advance our Savior’s mission in the world, in this very place, now and forever consecrated for this purpose.”