“The Church is always under construction”

The Holy Family parish community gathered outdoors August 3 for the dedication of the newly expanded church, education wing and parish hall. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

The sun shone bright August 3, as the Holy Family parish community gathered outside the locked doors of their recently renovated and expanded church, education wing and parish hall for its dedication by Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.

The day had been one long awaited by parishioners. The parish’s ‘Together We Grow Capital Campaign’ kicked off in Fall 2017, and groundbreaking for the project occurred March 2018. This February, the parish hall and classrooms were opened for use and Masses were moved to the hall during construction on the church.

After Bishop greeted the assembly, Dave Rogowski, parish building project manager, Brian Garvey of SFS Architects and Aaron Grother of McCownGordon Construction collectively gave a large symbolic key to the bishop, who in turn handed it to the parish’s pastor Fr. Philip Egan.

“Fr. Phil, I ask you to open the church doors—they made this (key) big so you can’t lose it!” Bishop Johnston remarked with a smile.

Once all were indoors, the bishop blessed holy water to sprinkle the church walls and assembly, then Mass proceeded as usual. In his homily, Bishop Johnston congratulated parishioners and Fr. Egan.

“You have built a beautiful church, and you have added on to the other facilities here for the work of the Gospel. In this church for generations to come, you and your children and your children’s children, those who will enter the Catholic Church here, will worship God and be nourished by God’s Word and the Sacraments in this church,” he said.

He encouraged the parish to follow the example of the Israelites listening to Ezra read from the rediscovered book of the Law of God in the first reading from Nehemiah 8.

“Why were they so emotional at listening to God’s Word at this occasion? They had just returned to their homeland, after 70 years of exile in Babylon,” said Bishop Johnston. “When King Cyrus of Persia allowed them to go back, it’s estimated that there were three million Jews in exile, but only 50,000 of them returned, in part because of the great distance—it was a 900-mile journey on foot—but even more, it was because there was not much to go home to.

Almost everything was in ruins when they got back. At the time it seemed that Israel’s glory days were behind them.”

The bishop said that, in a sense, parishioners were in a bit of exile during the rebuilding but he now commended them to an even greater spiritual rebuilding.

“The church is always under construction—when the physical buildings are completed, then the real building begins, a building that will impact our eternity,” he said.

A parishioner helps Fr. Phil Egan place a consecration candle in its sconce during the dedication. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

“Allow yourselves to be changed, converted, formed by God’s Word—too often in this world with all its distractions and false values, we can become deaf or indifferent to the voice of God speaking to us through His inspired Word. Listen to God’s word by faith and be moved by it, and then bind yourself to it by the way you live. And like the children of Israel in the first reading, renew your covenant—renew your covenant with God in the Holy Eucharist.”

“This space is much bigger than what you had before—it has been built for you to grow the kingdom. Like the Israelites in the book of Nehemiah, take up the great hope that the greatest days of this parish still lie ahead of you. Your challenge is the challenge that I could proclaim for the whole of our diocese—to be mission oriented, to be missionary disciples who love others so much that you want them to know and love Jesus here too.”

A Litany of the Saints and prayer of dedication followed the Creed in the Mass, then Bishop Johnston anointed the altar and four pillars of the church with Chrism. Four present and former pastors of the church—Fathers Philip Egan, Matthew Brumleve, Lloyd Opoka and Patrick Rush—then ensconced candles on the pillars, and the bishop burnt incense on the altar, the fragrant smoke representing prayers rising up to God. After incensing the church, the altar was cleaned and clothed in white cloth and the Easter Candle, altar candles and consecration candles were lit before the Liturgy of the Eucharist continued. After Mass, Bishop Johnston blessed the educational wing and parish hall before all enjoyed a luncheon.

At the reception, parishioners shared their appreciation of the greater space for worship, education and social activities.

“The common area, the reception area is really nice,” said William Bauer, parishioner.

“I love the new altar,” one woman said.

“Not only have we expanded our worship space which we hope we can pull in new parishioners in the area that is still developing around us, we were at capacity with our existing church where we were having overflow into our family room space, our narthex,” said Patty Rose, parish Stewardship and Development Director. “This gave us an opportunity to bring everyone back together as one in the church. And we’ve now expanded our education wing and our parish hall space, so we have a much bigger facility to host.”

“We are truly blessed to be in this house today,” said Fr. Phil Egan, pastor.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

November 01, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph