Yesterday, Father Joseph Williams, pastor of St. Stephen's parish in south Minneapolis had the occasion to remark that it had been a very long time since there had been a bishop celebrating Mass there.
Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche' of the Archdiocese, only recently consecrated, was present to celebrate the Mass and deliver the sermon on the occasion of the Feast Day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa. Mother's religious order, the Missionaries of Charity have a house in Minneapolis, not far from St. Stephen's and the sisters had asked that the Mass in honor of their foundress be celebrated there.
Mother died on September 5, 1997 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003. The celebration Mass was also in commemoration of Mother's 99th birthday that was on August 26.
It was the first occasion that most of those in attendance had seen or heard Bishop Piche'. From my point of view, any bishop who prefers the word "pulpit" over the New Age word "ambo", is my kind of bishop! He's also a wonderful homilist. A recording of it should be soon available.
Not only was it a first appearance by a bishop in a long time, it was the first time in a long time that St. Stephen's had seen an SRO, a full house with some of the congregation standing in the rear. All agreed that it was a wonderful day.
In addition to the bishop, all of the local members of the Missionaries of Charity were present, 15 priests con-celebrated the Mass, and an equal number of seminarians from the St. Paul Seminary were also there for this Mass that was celebrated in both Spanish and English (with two Hispanic deacons). This parish, like more than 20 in the archdiocese, now has Sunday Masses in both languages. In addition a choir group composed of the Handmaids of the Lord led the singing. They are a recently formed female religious order that is awaiting formal approval from Archbishop John Nienstedt.
The congregation was composed of a future church population that included many families, many young women and girls, no doubt great admirers of Blessed Teresa and a smattering of others, young and old. A reception was held on the sidewalk in front of the church as there were too many present to hold it in the church hall.
Blessed Teresa, pray for us.