This past week, I received a great question via Facebook about our “Honoring Our Past ~ Building Our Future” capital campaign. The question was framed by recognizing how we have been putting a lot of energy in describing the future building, but what about honoring the past? This parishioner offered this question with the spirit that continues to show our faith, hope, and love for our Lord and the due respect that our forbears deserve. Thank you for the important question.
First of all, it is reasonable that we spend so much focus on the future at this juncture, lest we fail due to paralysis about the past. With everything, there is a season and time. That being said, I’d like to honor our past and encourage us all to do the same in our own particular ways.
Honoring our past begins with recognizing that we are standing on the shoulders of those who went before us and some who are still here today. In my time, I think of Madeline Grimes who was our liturgy coordinator for so many years and who passed on 2013. She shared with me many stories about the parish’s previous church on C street and Fr. Kelly and the priests who came after. She brought up several times the events of our past as well as the desire to “fix” the church. She told me about the gatherings about remodeling our current church, the plans that were drawn up in 1994 which moved the pews into a sweeping fan around the altar (a viable option), and the unfortunate yelling, arguing, and lack of charity that the project brought out. Hey! With the good comes some bad at times. The result was a retrofit of the sanctuary which we gratefully have today. Did you know that the Ambo where the Scriptures are proclaimed was constructed by cutting the main alter shorter and using that piece for the vertical support of the Ambo? Notice, today, the top of the altar (aka mesa) is the same green marble as the vertical part of the Ambo? Give yourself a pat on the back if you already knew that. I’m just so grateful that the three years our Core Building Committee met to pray, think, and plan for a new church were so life-giving, diverse with ideas and discussion, and thankfully without any divisive fireworks. Our Core building Committee revisited the plans of 1994 and discerned that the community would prefer a more traditional than modern approach to the new church.
In the coming weeks, I will offer more thoughts and history of our parish and how we can be honor our past while also building our future.
Fr. William Holtzinger