By SHEILA OJENDYK
EASLEY — The Feast of the Transfiguration was a special day indeed at the Catholic Church of St. Luke. Bishop Robert J. Baker traveled from Charleston to bless the new facility and concelebrate Mass with Father Francis J. Travis, pastor of St. Luke’s, and visiting priests Father Gerard Aylward, Father D. Anthony Droze, and Msgr. Thomas X. Hofmann.
The bishop, concelebrating priests, and 10 servers processed to the altar with an honor guard from the Knights of Columbus. The bishop began the ceremony by blessing the holy water, which “reminds us of our baptism and our calling to be people of God.”
Because the building at St. Luke’s is a multipurpose facility and not technically a church, it was blessed rather than dedicated. Churches are dedicated because they are permanently set aside for worship, while facilities such as the multipurpose facility at St. Luke’s are used for worship on a temporary basis.
In his homily, Bishop Baker related asking confirmation candidates all over the state, “How is the church like a lighthouse?” He noted that this question was not part of their study program, and he received some insightful answers from the young people. He spoke of the lighthouse that is the church and the parish of St. Luke’s and said, “We will bring light, life, hope and joy to the world in which we live.”
Immediately after his homily, Bishop Baker dedicated the altar while the choir chanted the Litany of the Saints in the background. He removed his outer vestments, donned an apron, and then poured chrism onto the center of the altar and on each of the four corners.
Bishop Baker rubbed the chrism into the oak surface of the altar. After the chrism had been rubbed in, Deacon Anthony Cassandra from Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville and Deacon John Karandisevsky from St. Mary’s in Greenville covered the altar with its new altar cloth.
Father Travis explained the significance of anointing with oil. Anointing an object sets it apart because oil is permanent. An altar is permanent and is used for one purpose only.
Bishop Baker incensed the altar, lit the first candle, and proceeded with Mass. At the conclusion of Mass, the children of the parish sang a hand-clapping, jumping-for-joy rendition of “We are the Church.”
St. Luke’s was founded in January of 1994 as a mission of Holy Cross Parish in Pickens. The mission leased worship space from Bethesda United Methodist Church until beginning a capital campaign three years later. The parish broke ground for the multipurpose facility on July 11, 1999, and celebrated the first Mass in their new building on May 13 of this year.