Thank you for your generous response to last month’s Annual Paulist Appeal! $14,693 was donated to continue the mission of the Paulist Fathers, a wonderful expression of this parish’s commitment to share in the life and work of the Paulist Community.
The solemn consecration of our new diocesan cathedral on March 3 is now just one month away. In preparation of our cathedral’s dedication, Bishop Stika has invited us all to pray the following prayer: Good and Holy St. Joseph, you built a humble home of wood and stone for Jesus and Mary in Nazareth. But the first home for God’s two most precious gifts to us was your heart. Help us, as God’s special carpenter, to be built up into a beautiful cathedral home for Jesus and Mary.
A week ago, Fr. Tim, Deacon Joe Stackhouse, Deacon Doug Bitzer, and I took a tour of our new cathedral’s nearly finished interior. Awesome (in that word’s traditional meaning) is the right word to describe it – as in the traditional Introit of the Mass for the Dedication of a Church (based on the Patriarch Jacob’s words in Genesis 28:17): Terribilis est locus iste; hic domus Dei est, et porta caeli; et vocabitur aula Dei. (“Awesome is this place; this is the house of God, and the gate of heaven, and it will be called the hall of God.”) In an era when so many public buildings are better known for their banality and ugliness than for their beauty and dignity, it is a true joy to experience Knoxville’s glorious new cathedral, designed and built so as to leave no doubt as to its purpose and the solemnity and importance of what takes place inside it. And it is a great testimony to the faith and commitment of the Catholic people of East Tennessee, who have built this House of God as an expression of their faith and hope in the future. Leaving this glorious new temple of the Lord, I was reminded of these words of the great Saint Augustine (354-430), if our minds be faithful and attentive, and our lives just and holy, all that is done in temples made with hands will be fulfilled in a spiritual building also within us (Sermon 252).
Meanwhile, the 2018 Bishop’s Appeal is now underway. This year’s theme is One Church for One Another. As I said last week, to advance the Church’s mission, we all have to pull together to make possible the things the Church needs to do – such as the absolutely essential work of Catholic Charities, which responds to so many human needs in our communities, and the formation of future priests and deacons, necessary if the mission of the Church is to continue into the future. We will all have a chance to pledge at Mass this Sunday. (If you have already sent in your pledge, thank you!) Our assigned parish goal is $52,200. With your enthusiasm and support, I am confident that we can reach and even exceed our assigned goal.