WRITTEN BY THERESA WATENE LAST UPDATED: 21ST DECEMBER 2014
On the afternoon of Sunday 14 December 2014 over four hundred people gathered from near and far to celebrate the Rite of Consecration of the Church of St Joseph Morrinsville and the Dedication of its Altar. At 3 p.m. the Most Reverend Denis Browne Emeritus Bishop of Hamilton, processed into the new church building with twelve clergy including our Parish Priest Father Mark O'Keeffe, the Vicar General Father Richard Laurenson, three former parish priests were in attendance Father Frank O’Regan, Monsignor David Bennett and Monsignor Trevor Murray.
The key to the Church was handed over to the Bishop by the site manager, Straun Anderson-Scott of Hawkins Construction Limited. Bishop blessed water and sprinkled it on the people and walls and altar of the new church - "as a sign of our repentance, a reminder of our baptism, and a symbol of the cleansing of these walls and this altar".
The Lectionary was presented and blessed.
In the Prayer of Consecration and the Anointing, we asked "the saints to support our prayers to God the Father almighty" by kneeling and singing the Litany of the Saints. For many this was a very sacred moment. The Bishop prayed the Prayer of Consecration, part of which was: “For today we come before you, to consecrate to your lasting service this house of prayer, this temple of worship, this home in which we are nourished by your word and your sacraments." This powerful prayer was followed by the Anointing of the Altar and Walls of the Church. Bishop poured chrism on the middle of the altar and on each of its four corners. He then anointed the entire table of the altar. Then the priests anointed the walls of the church, signing with chrism the four crosses. The bishop incensed the altar and the priests incensed the church and the people. Candles were lit on the altar and in the church as a sign of rejoicing and as a symbol of the Light of Christ.
After communion the Blessed Sacrament was incensed; and processed through the main body of the church to the tabernacle. The sanctuary lamp was lit to burn perpetually before the Blessed Sacrament. Mass ended with the Concluding Rite and the Final Hymn. Thanks be to God! What a holy, meaningful, and spiritual rite.
After Mass many took the opportunity to wander around and appreciate the new church. It is a sacred space built for the glory of God. It is spacious, light, and warm. It is beautiful many commented.
The sanctuary looks very familiar as it has many of the furnishings which were in the old church such as the ambo, tabernacle, candle holders, credence table and chairs. The crucifix of our Lord Jesus Christ which now dominates the new church came from the recently demolished church (the second church dedicated to Saint Joseph in Morrinsville). The new altar mensa is made of marble from the previous church with the cut-off portions forming shelving either side of the Crucifix. The statues from the first Saint Joseph’s church have been placed lovingly in each corner of our new church, these being: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mary Mother of God, Saint Joseph, and Saint Theresa of Lisieux. The marble from the previous sanctuary floor has been used as podiums for our statues and for consecration crosses on the church walls.
There are numerous windows in the new church, which let in lots of light. The stained glass windows are stunning; they have the words GO OUT TO THE WORLD and feature the vine, the lamb, the symbol of Christ, rings, and many other Christian symbols. Sacred artist and iconographer Michael Pervan from Saint John the Baptist Studio designed the windows; there are layers upon layers of meanings in the art. Some of the clear glass windows have been etched with quotes and icons of Saint Pope John Paul II and Saint Pope John XXXIII. In the gathering space there is a large window dedicated to the Life of Saint Joseph.
We have new Stations of the Cross, which are approximately 100 years old, these came from the church of the Immaculate Conception in Taylor, Scranton, Pennsylvania. There is a new ambry for the sacred oils which has been skilfully crafted in wood by one of the parishioners - Cary Burr. In the gathering space there is also a very special carving of Our Lady of All Nations. The original pews have been sanded and restored.
After admiring the new church, many gathered at the school hall for something to eat and drink. There was a real sense of jubilation and celebration with thanks for the new church.
Praise be to God.