By Jodi Magallanes
SOUTH BEND — The near-completion of a new sanctuary and additions to the school at St. Jude Parish, South Bend, was cause for celebration on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was present at the south-side parish for the Mass with dedication of the new altar and the blessing of the church renovations, which marked the end of one part of a $3.9 million project.
Construction began in March on an addition to the school and an expanded sanctuary, new narthex and outdoor plaza for the church; updates to the HVAC systems that serve both St. Jude Church and School; and repairs to the school roof. Two new classrooms and office areas have been added to the school. Existing office areas of the school were reconfigured for small-group learning.
For Sunday’s occasion, the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Masses that are normally celebrated were combined into a single Mass that began at 9 a.m.
The Mass began with the blessing of holy water, followed by the sprinkling of the congregation and the blessing of the church that included the three new stained-glass windows of Jesus and the children; the Divine Mercy image; and the Holy Family of Nazareth. The special readings were taken from the Mass for the Dedication of an Altar.
“I wish to congratulate all of you on this accomplishment, an accomplishment that demonstrates your strong faith, your love for the Lord and the gift of the Holy Eucharist, and your stewardship,” Bishop Rhoades told the faithful.
“We are nearing the end of the Year of Faith, in which Pope Benedict called the whole Church to rediscover and celebrate the truth, power and beauty of our Catholic faith. This renovation … reflects your appreciation of the beauty of our faith, a beauty that is expressed in your newly-renovated church.”
Bishop Rhoades noted during his homily that the Catholic Church is built on the foundation of the Twelve Apostles. We are reminded by St. Paul, he added, that as Christians we are members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself as the cornerstone.
Bishop Rhoades reminded those in attendance that the sacred space was not merely a gathering place or assembly hall.
“Rather, this building signifies and makes visible the Church living in this place, the Christian community of St. Jude, the members of which are called, as all Catholics are called, to be built into a spiritual house and to be ourselves temples of the living God. … In this house of God, this house of prayer, your spiritual home, may God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be worshipped in spirit and in truth.”
During the Mass the bishop also revisited the history of the parish. Originally called St. James, its name was changed two years after it was founded in 1948 by Bishop Leo J. Pursley. A small church was built that quickly became too small, and then a larger structure was built. Soon, a school was added.
Father John Delaney, pastor, expressed contentment with the outcome of the renovation.
Titled “Our Time to Build,” the capital campaign project began in 2012 at the initiative of Father Delaney. A three-year capital campaign has raised almost $3.4 of the $3.9 million to bring the long-awaited improvements to fruition. In addition to their regular pledges, many parishioners donated funds for additional items needed that were not part of the originally planned improvements. It is hoped that donations will also come in for a new bike rack for the school.
New flooring, lighting and décor are complete and a sound system is functioning. A number of finishing touches still need to be put into place such as two custom mosaics of Blessed John Paul II and St. André Bessette, and custom-painted oils of the Stations of the Cross.
Over the summer Father Delaney blessed a new cross and bell tower.
Once the state has certified a new elevator, worshippers with physical limitations will be able to participate fully in all functions of the parish.
“I’ve always loved St. Jude’s. You have a great parish,” Bishop Rhoades said at the close of the dedication Mass. “How grateful I am for the leadership of your pastor, who has put his heart and soul into this project. Thank you, Father Delaney. And thank you to each of you, for your profound demonstration of faithfulness.”
An open house event is being planned 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27, so that members of the community, neighbors and future students and their families may take a look at what has transpired inside both the church and the school during the construction period.
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