Like Living Stones
"One thing I ask of the Lord, that I may dwell in his house all my life." (Psalm 27:4)
The Rite of Dedication
The word dedication comes from an intensive form of the Latin verb dicere, to speak. It means "to speak out, to announce, to proclaim."
The Rite of Dedication is long, complicated, and anything but a formality. In dedicating a church building, we proclaim with Jacob, "This is the house of God and the gate of Heaven" (Gen. 28:17).
And because the Church symbolizes ourselves, we announce that we too are houses in which he dwells.
Here is a summary of the Rite.
The door of the Church is shut and everyone stands outside. Those responsible for the building formally hand it over to Bishop Carl.
The Bishop then calls for the doors to be opened. Leading the procession, he enters with everyone following.
The entrance procession symbolizes the gathering of Godís people in His house, where He will meet with us.
The Blessing of Water
Without kissing the Altar, the Bishop stands before the celebrantís chair, while a vessel of water is brought to him.
He blesses the water as a sign of repentance, a reminder of baptism, and a symbol of purification for ourselves, the Altar, and the building itself. Then he goes through the Church sprinkling the people, the walls, and the Altar.
Liturgy of the Word
A reading from Nehemiah tells of peopleís response to the proclamation of the Law. "Today is holy to the Lord your God," shouts Ezra the scribe. "The joy of the Lord must be your strength!" (Neh 8:9-10)
Other readings chosen from the Rite for the Dedication of a church follow. Unlike other times when the Word is read, no candles or incense accompany this reading.
The Dedication Proper
The actual dedication rite begins with the Litany of the Saints, the depositing of the relics in the Altar, and a special prayer of dedication.
Next, both the Altar and the Church building are anointed with sacred Chrismólots of it. The anointing of the Altar makes it a symbol of Christ, the "anointed One". The anointing of the walls in four places, permanently sets the building aside as a house of worship.
Incense now comes into play. First, a brazier of incense burns on the Altar to symbolize the sacrificial prayer of Christ. Next, the people are incensed as living temples of the Spirit, followed by the incensing of the buildingó symbolizing again the prayer that occurs there.
Ministers then wipe the Altar dry and place altar cloths on it. The Bishop gives the deacon a lighted candle, calling on the light of Christ to shine in this Church; and the deacon proceeds to light the candles on the Altar in preparation for Mass.
Bishop Carl now celebrates the first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the new Church, beginning with the special Preface of Dedication.
The canon of the Mass uses Eucharistic Prayer III, with certain changes appropriate to the dedication.
Following Communion, the bishop inaugurates the adoration chapel. Using a rite similar to Benediction, the bishop carries a pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament into the chapel. A minister then lights the tabernacle light.
Returning to the main altar, the bishop ends Mass with his blessing and dismissal.
Letís pray in a special way in the coming week as we prepare for the dedication of our Church, that through the intercession of all our patron Saints and angels, especially Mary, our Mother and Queen, we may be able to receive every grace that God longs to pour upon us through this awesome event.
On Saturday evening, June 23, the evening prior to the Dedication of the Church, Christ the King will hold a Vigil of the Relics of the Saints that will be placed in our new Altar. The relics will be honored by a Procession, Evening Prayer, and a homily. Children are welcome, but it may be wise to invite only those of our children who have some understanding of what we are doing.
The Liturgy for the Dedication of a Church states: "All the dignity of the Altar rests on its being the Lordís table. Thus, the martyrís body does not bring honor to the Altar; rather, the Altar does honor to the martyrís tomb." (Ch. 4, par. 5) As we enter the celebration of the Vigil, let us remember that it is Jesus we ADORE, while we give HONOR to the Saints.
After the Liturgy of the Hours (Evening Prayer), all are invited to stay and keep vigil (watch). The Vigil of the Relics will last through the night and will end around 10:15 AM on Sunday, just before the Procession to enter the new Church begins. During the Vigil we may pray, read Scripture or other spiritual books, ask those Saints whose relics will be placed in the Altar to intercede for us, give glory to God for such a "great cloud of witnesses", or meditate.
-Prayer Meeting-Fri., June 22, 7:30, SSA
-Eucharistic Adoration-after the prayer meeting
-Vigil with the Relics-Sat. June 23, 7:30 PM, SSA
-Dedication Liturgy-Sun., June 24, 10:30 AM Christ the King Catholic Church
-Dedication Reception-2:00-5:00 PM, Dominoís Petting Farm
May the Holy Spirit continue to prepare our hearts for the events of the Dedication!