Today our parish community gathered together outside in a ground blessing mass on the property recently acquired for our new church building. And what a blessing it was.
An estimated 2500 people attended what we believe to be the largest mass the Antelope Valley has ever had. Four priests concelebrated, three deacons and our pastoral intern served the mass, and voices and instruments from all four of our diverse music ministries joined together as one. The Knights of Columbus turned out in full regalia, adding to the ceremony of it all. It was nothing short of exhilarating.
And hot. But back to the exhilarating part...
Each parish family in attendance brought with them a small jar filled with dirt from their own home. As the gifts were being prepared, the families came up one by one and poured their dirt into a large clay jar. This dirt, representing the individual families that make up our church, will be used in the foundation of the new building. I was brought to tears many times during the mass, but most decidedly while watching these families, many of whom I know so well, offer their piece of the church's foundation. I am a sucker for symbolism, and this mass was chock full of it.
The very best part I did not even see--it was later reported to me by several who had seen it. At the moment of the consecration, three white doves flew over the altar. It seemed, to those who witnessed it, that it must have been planned, so perfectly timed it was. Indeed, it was planned, but not by those who arranged for the mass! Hearing about it gave me chills. Indeed the ground has been blessed today.
I can't wait to see the new church take shape. In the meantime, it's not just the ground that has been blessed--it is all of us who are part of this historic event.