It was a full house at Blessed Sacrament on June 6 for the feast of Corpus Christi and the blessing of the newly renovated social hall by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
Bishop Rhoades told parishioners at the Albion parish, “It’s wonderful to be here on your patronal feast — the feast of Corpus Christi.”
The bishop said it was a special honor to celebrate the Lord in the Eucharist, “the great gift to us the day before he died and one that is central to our faith.”
During his homily, Bishop Rhoades said, “‘This is my Body … This is my Blood.’ We have just heard these words in St. Mark’s account of the Last Supper. With these words, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. At every Mass, we hear the priest repeat these words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper. These words resonate with special power today as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. They lead us in spirit to the upper room on that first Holy Thursday night when, celebrating Passover with His disciples, Jesus mystically anticipated the sacrifice that was to be consummated the next day on the cross when His body would be broken, and His blood poured out.”
The bishop went on to say that Jesus was anticipating a very brutal death but He “accepted this in His heart and He transformed what was going to happen into an action of love.”
“Jesus’ Body and Blood is given to us so that we will be transformed, like the bread and wine was transformed. Christ’s dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outward to others by our living what we receive, by our living Eucharistic lives, lives of self-giving love. That’s what the Eucharist strengthens us to do. It’s the center of our lives as disciples of Jesus,” said Bishop Rhoades.
Bishop Rhoades said, “It’s important to remember that at Mass, we celebrate not only the passion and death of Jesus, but also His Resurrection … the bread Jesus gives us at Mass is the bread of life. Jesus promises that He who eats this bread will live forever and He will raise Him up on the last day. The Eucharist is, in fact, an anticipation of the glory of heaven. It unites us, even now, to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.”
Corpus Christi Procession
After Mass, Bishop Rhoades, pastor Father J. Steele, CSC, and the congregation processed with the Blessed Sacrament outdoors, praying the Litany of the Saints. At the Benediction, they also prayed the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and stopped at five altars set up where Bishop Rhoades offered prayers. He also invoked blessings on the families of the parish who lived in each direction — north, south, east and west while Father Steele mentioned the families by surname.
“Lord we ask your blessing on the homes, gardens and fields of these families,” Bishop prayed.
Father Steele said afterwards it was a combination of the Blessing of the Fields since they are a rural parish and Corpus Christi procession. He said the parish used to do both separately but, “It seemed simpler to combine the both of them.”
Bishop Rhoades also asked the Lord to bless the towns of Albion and Kendallville, the civic workers and emergency responders of those towns, as well as our nation and all the governmental leaders.
Blessing of the Hall
Bishop Rhoades then blessed the newly renovated social hall after which the congregation joined together for lunch.
“After much work and prayers by many members of Blessed Sacrament Parish, we gather now to inaugurate and bless this renovated parish social hall. It will house many of the parish community activities and be a place where many will come to know one another and give witness to their faith in Christ,” he said. “May all who come here know the presence of Christ, experience the joy of His friendship and grow in His love. Grant this through Christ our Lord.”
Father Steele said the parish raised a quarter-million dollars in three years without holding any formal fundraisers. A major accomplishment for the parish with 150 families. They started raising funds for the social hall renovation right after the new church was dedicated in August 2018.
He compared it to renovating a room in a home and then the rest of the house looks shabbier — after the new church was dedicated, the need for renovations at the social hall was more apparent. The renovations began in February of this year and were completed April 16. The new social hall encompasses the old church and social hall and a couple of classrooms.
Father Steele said Bishop Rhoades chose this date for the dedication. “It was very generous of him to spend the Feast of Corpus Christi with us,” he said. “We’re honored he came on the feast day.”
Father Steele said the Corpus Christi procession alternates from his other parish, Immaculate Conception in Kendallville and Blessed Sacrament in Albion, and this year was Albion’s turn. This is the first time the bishop celebrated Mass on the feast day with the parish.
Organist Sue Avery said she thinks the renovations are “wonderful. I’m surprised we raised the money so quickly, but everyone’s been giving.” Avery spoke of the many graces that came to be during the church renovation and said, “We’ve just been so blessed.”
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