This weekend my parish church opened up for Mass. We’ve been celebrating Mass in the gym since renovation began on our church nine months ago. Construction and renovation is now complete and the church is breathtaking. It is beyond anything I could imagine! I believe we had a record number of people attend Saturday evening and Sunday morning Mass.
I remember Father Adam’s homily. Father quoted a friend who had sent him a message just before Mass, “Where there is prayer, there is a future.” I thought of what a rich and full past this 150 year old church has had. A century and a half of liturgical celebration and sacred tradition. A century and a half of administering the sacraments as generation after generation were baptized, confirmed and married here. This sacramental tradition lives on as Father heard confession Saturday afternoon for the first time in the new confessional; an infant was baptized at Saturday evening Mass and another infant was baptized this morning.
As Father Adam continues to talk about prayer, he reminds us of today’s psalms, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor!” Don’t we all cry out to God in times of need, sometimes even lighting a votive candle in the church? What a blessing for us to be able to do this, to have the comfort of our parish church, to believe in the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. How many hearts have cried out to Our Lord in this church?
I thought about Father’s words again. “Where there is prayer, there is a future.” Father called this message he received from his friend Providential since it completed his homily and tied it together. Just what he needed! Father spoke of generations of people gathering here to worship. He reminded us to pause today and think of the importance of prayer. He had us consider the groups who gather in church to pray, to say the Rosary together, to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet together. I was happy to hear Father mention the Rosary. I was especially happy to hear Father mention our Friday 3PM Divine Mercy prayer ministry which has had such low attendance and needs a spiritual boost.
Father pointed out that our church is alive with our voices as we pray and sing, alive as our prayers and songs reverberate throughout our newly renovated church. Father asked, “What humility do we bring to our prayers” referencing the gospel Luke 18:9-14 …he who humbles himself will be exalted. And I thought how humbling it is to worship God in our beautiful church, a foretaste of heaven. Humbling and inspiring as we remember that Church is not a building, Church is people united to Our Lord Jesus Christ and each other.
We renovated the church not just because our church needed a fresh look. Our 150 church would not have survived for future generations if we had not restored it. We did this for love of God. And again I was reminded that where there is prayer, there is a future. We believe in a future for our parish, St. Charles Borromeo, as we thank God for such a blessing.
Perhaps our renewed church will effect a renewal of hearts. Jesus spoke of a new heaven and a new earth. I believe our church will be a crossroad for conversions, and a melting of stony hearts. I see the state of our church made fresh as a symbol of the glorified renewal of heaven and earth and body and soul, the New Jerusalem that is to come at the end of time.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:  At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign forever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed: The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.  Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth”. It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth”.
I pray to The Holy Spirit to watch over us and protect us. I pray that our children and grandchildren will bring their children to Mass and the Sacraments at St. Charles Borromeo. I pray that all may continue to grow in love of Jesus. I pray that future generations will be grateful for what generations past wanted to preserve for them. I’m filled with gratitude to our ancestors for building this church that we may all continue to worship God together. I pray that we may fulfill God’s promise to us of eternal life in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit one God forever and ever. Amen
(In memory of parishioner Tilly Lamb who died a few days after the doors of St. Charles Borromeo were reopened.)