GRANGER — “It’s really unbelievable how much you’ve done at St. Pius X Parish. It seems every year I’m coming to bless something. Monsignor told me before Mass, ‘Bishop that’s it, I’m finished’ and I said I will think of something else. While I was sitting here, I looked up and said I can come back and bless the stained-glass windows because we don’t have them yet,” joked Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in to the packed church of St. Pius X. Bishop Rhoades celebrated the noon Mass on Sunday, Aug. 18, followed by a blessing of the addition of the Parish Education Center and new Catechesis of the Good Shepherd wing.
After Mass, the congregation was invited to the main gymnasium for a blessing, to tour the six new classrooms, the expanded band room, the new multipurpose room, the new serving kitchen and the atria for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Light refreshments and a chance to greet Bishop Rhoades followed.
“We need the extra classrooms for our larger classes, to allow us to offer a full-day preschool, in addition to evening programming and activities. For the first time, our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will have the required atria for its effective work. Finally, a multipurpose room will accommodate the school lunch program, after-school activities and additional parish programming. It is the final step in our efforts to provide the parish with adequate space for our growing community,” said pastor Msgr. William C. Schooler. “We hope that people will see for themselves the fruits of their many sacrifices and appreciate the positive benefits to our parish and educational efforts.”
According to Msgr. Schooler’s message in the weekly bulletin, “Bishop’s blessing concludes construction of our ambitious building project, which began with the building of our new church and the adaption of the former church into the Parish Life Center. We would never have accomplished all of this without the prayers and generous financial support of so many parishioners. I look forward to the successful completion of the Behold, I Make All Things New campaign (hopefully, very soon!) when the entire expansion project is fully funded.”
During the homily, Bishop Rhoades discussed the image we often see of St. Paul viewing Christian life as an athletic race that we saw again in the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews.
“The author of the letter speaks of our persevering and running the race that lies before us keeping our eyes on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. Jesus is at the finish line in the glory of heaven, and we’re on this race as his disciples heading toward that triumphant goal, the goal of eternal life with him in the glory of Heaven,” said Bishop Rhoades. “What’s great is there’s a crowd cheering us on. And the letter to the Hebrews says we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses — the saints in heaven.”
“It’s like they’re a crowd in a big sports arena rooting for us. And they’re not just spectators — they’re praying for us. They are examples that inspire us to persevere in the race,” said Bishop Rhoades.
“It’s great that we Catholics believe and take seriously what the letter to the Hebrews says about the cloud of witnesses. We have devotion to the saints — we even have an All Saints Day. Saints are encouraging us to stay faithful and to persevere as they did even when it’s tough,” noted Bishop Rhoades.
The letter tells us to rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us.
“We need to throw off those things that impede our progress, works of darkness, sins and vices that weigh us down,” said Bishop Rhoades.
In Christian life, it’s not a sprint. It’s more like a marathon, a distance race. There are some long uphill climbs and stretches of rough terrain. Perseverance and endurance is needed.
“Let us continue to run the race knowing that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Try to rid ourselves of the burdens of sin that weigh us down, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus ready to endure the cross knowing what lies before us at the finish line,” said Bishop Rhoades.
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