By SHEILA OJENDYK
TAYLORS — Last Sunday was a day to celebrate at Prince of Peace despite the unforgettable horrors of the previous Tuesday. For the last several years, parishioners have attended Mass in a gym. Following a successful capital campaign that many said could not be done, the foundation for the much-needed new church was ready to be blessed.
There was standing-room only at the 11 a.m. Mass on Sept. 16. The choir led the crowded congregation in songs of patriotism and peace before the processional.
Bishop Robert J. Baker was the celebrant, with Father Steven Brovey, pastor at Prince of Peace, and Benedictine Father Samuel Weber concelebrating. The bishop began Mass by asking the congregation to pray for President Bush and civil leaders.
Bishop Baker spoke of the cornerstone representing Jesus, “who is the cornerstone, the capstone, and the foundation of our church on this earth.” He described the church as being a dwelling place of God on earth.
Sunday’s Gospel was the parable of the prodigal son. Bishop Baker compared the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees in this familiar reading with people he described as “holier than thou.” He said, “How often holier-than-thou people bring other people to disaster .… How insidiously evil works through people who are better than God.” He continued, “Our God is like the father who welcomes back his prodigal son. That is the God who consoles us and helps us pick up the pieces.”
He challenged the congregation to “to take the lead in constructively working for peace in our world” and stressed the importance of Catholics “showing our oneness with people of other faiths” in this time of crisis.
After thanking Bishop Baker for coming, Father Brovey announced that the parish tithe next week will be sent to Catholic Charities in New York and Washington, D.C. There will also be a second collection for the same needs.
After Mass, the congregation processed to the construction site for the new church. After prayers and readings, Bishop Baker blessed the four corners of the foundation and the capstones, upon which the supporting columns will be based. A reception followed the blessing.
The new church will be the largest in the diocese, seating 1,200 people. It has been designed to allow for future growth and could be expanded to accommodate up to 2,000 people.
Bishop Robert J. Baker led the congregation in prayer prior to blessing the foundation and capstones for the new church.