Our Parish Council met recently and I reminded them that we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the building of our church. If you recall from our 70th Anniversary of the Parish last year, Mass was first celebrated at Benjamin Franklin School, starting on October 17, 1948. Then the following year some men of the parish began building the first church on the parish property at what is now the entrance of the church off of Broadview. It took just a few weeks to build as it was a very simple wooden structure. Then a couple years later, a new church was built made of bricks and the first Mass in that church was celebrated on December 24, 1950. This is the church which was at the south end of the school building and which later was moved to the north end of the school building where it is now & was made into Lux Hall, our current gym. Many of you have told me how you were married in that church or had children baptized and receive their First Holy Communion there. Finally, the first Mass in the church we now use was celebrated exactly 19 years later on December 24th, 1969. At the northeast corner of the church you will see the cornerstone which says “St. Leo the Great 1969.”
At this meeting with Parish Council in late January, we discussed how we might celebrate the 50th anniversary of our beautiful church. The church has seen several renovations over the years. The sanctuary floor which had green carpeting was replaced with the beautiful marble floor we have now. A daily Mass chapel was added in the right wing. Stained glass windows were installed in the nave, on the back wall of the sanctuary, in chapel areas of the church, as well as on the doors by the back vestibule. The tabernacle has moved from the center of the sanctuary to the chapel area and now is on the right side of the sanctuary. The pulpit and altar were changed, and a few months ago we re-stained the wood in the sanctuary to match the wood in the rest of the church. Church buildings, like the Church community, is always changing.
So in next week’s bulletin I’ll suggest some modest renova- tions which we discussed as a way of celebrating our 50th Anni- versary of worshiping in this church. I would appreciate your feedback as the goal is to make this a better space for you to pray and for us to celebrate the sacraments together.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the cards and promises of your prayers for my surgery on Monday. The weekday Mass people have offered a novena (9 days of prayers) for me to St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients. I have received a St. Peregrine medal to carry with me, blessed oil, and holy water from the springs at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in France. These small symbols of our faith keep us united in prayer with each other and with our companions, the saints. But may I ask that we all turn those prayers around now and offer them for those whose cancer is much more serious than mine? These are the people I have been praying for and my health concerns are rather small compared to theirs. I know who they are so pray with me for them who are in much greater need of God’s help than myself. That would be my grateful request to you.