This coming Friday we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the dedication of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. As you all know, our Church was flooded during hurricane Katrina. It took a few year for the parish to be reopened and then the Church to be restored, but on November 22, 2009, Archbishop Aymond celebrated the Mass re-dedicating Our Lady of Lourdes Church. For us, this is a symbol of our restored communities and of our love for our Church and parish.
For any parish, the anniversary of the dedication of their Church is an important and meaningful day. In fact, it’s a solemnity for that parish. A solemnity is the highest level of feast day in the Church. There’s a memorial of a saint, like the Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini that was celebrated this past Wednesday, then a feast day, like the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude the apostles which we celebrated on October 28, then there’s a solemnity. There are only 25 solemnities celebrated by the entire Church throughout the world. However, each individual Church celebrates their named feast day, for us the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11, and the anniversary of the dedication of their Church as solemnities in their own parish Church.
In the preface of the Eucharistic Prayer for the dedication of a Church we pray, “For in this visible house that you have let us build and where you never cease to show favor to the family on pilgrimage to you in this place, you wonderfully manifest and accomplish the mystery of your communion with us. Here you build up for yourself the temple that we are and cause your Church, spread throughout the world, to grow ever more and more as the Lord’s own Body, till she reaches her fullness in the vision of peace, the heavenly city of Jerusalem.” This is what the dedication of a Church means and what we celebrate this Friday. We thank the Lord for allowing and helping us to build our Church. We celebrate that, in this Church we grow in communion with God and with one another in our Church family, and are nourished and strengthened by the Eucharist to live out our faith in the ordinary events of our lives. We celebrate that this Church represents for heaven and the heavenly Temple for us, reminding us that this life is not our final destination, but that we are together on this pilgrimage through life to our final destination in heaven.
I hope to see all of you this Friday as we come to celebrate the birthday of our own parish Church. We’ll begin with Mass at 6:30 pm and have a reception afterwards.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.