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.
What they have done to the interior of what must have been a stunningly beautiful Catholic Church! Vandals, Visigoths,and church wreckovators!
Join the parish and become part of the Renewal!
Okay, so they were actually SJV Seminarians at the Mass, but I don't quibble over such matters. To be specific, the SJV Seminarians in attendance were the 9 leaders of our Campus Outreach Team, which organizes the various Campus Bible Studies, Catholic Men's Leadership Groups (for Student-Athletes at UST), and the "Last Chance Mass" on Sunday nights at 9:30. It's been clear to me for years that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and the prayers of the Missionaries of Charity, have made an enormous difference in the spiritual renewal occurring at the University of Saint Thomas, especially in large numbers of students returning to the Sacraments, and we were there to continue begging for her -- and their -- prayers.
You shouldda been there, Terry.
Next year will be Mother's 100th birthday anniversary, and on a Sunday. You might want to get your reservations in early.
I know a guy who might help with that. Ticket scalping is now legal in Minnesota. That might be a way we can finance the de-Vosko-ization of the sanctuary.
Everybody's a critic, Father!
I mused about that but then I saw Msgr. Callahan up on the altar and kinda assumed that you wouldn't want to one-up him, what with your teams regularly thrashing the SPS seminarians in athletic competitions.
It was the Roman Collars that threw me. I assumed that it was only the SPS men that are seen in full dress seminarian togs over there.
But at least you're a very knowledgeable critic, just chock full of great information all the time.
That's wonderful news about your alliance with the sisters. It's like having a division of Special Forces or Seals on your side.
I'll have to get more information out of you on this one of these mornings.
I tried to catch you after Mass yesterday, but what with school just starting I suspect you have your hands full.
Did you get the last of the Moms out of there yet?
Yesterday the church was stunningly beautiful.
It was peaceful, holy, orderly, sparkling clean,
joyous. The presence of God was there. The power
of God was there. The love of God was there.
Renovations by Jesus, the master carpenter.
The liturgies are as solid as you'll find anywhere. That's what really counts.
1st Anon: What happened and what was done in St. Stephens is nothing short of a reclamation. Even seeing properly vested priests, a bishop and servers in alb and cassock is HUGE for a parish that all kinds of wackiness for decades.
Great coverage, Ray. Thanks for being there. Bishop Piche has a deep respect for Blessed Teresa. His story about how he met her is one of his favorites.
Thanks Ray for this beautiful report and photos of the true transformation at St. Stephen's... from 6 short years ago... http://www.stjoan.com/er3/ststephens.htm
THANK YOU Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Father Williams, Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche!
That link had an interest list of parishes in it. I'll have to add some others to my prayer list.
Beautiful photos of the Mass! You guys are really fortunate to have a good bishop and priests celebrating Mother Teresa like that.
Just read some of the other comments here. That is really GREAT news, Fr Baer, re: the college students coming back to the Sacraments in droves due to the prayers/intercession of Mother Teresa and her sisters! wow! God be praised in His angels and His Saints!
I think I could arrange tickets for you & the family if you could make it out here to God's Country for the 100th celebration of Mother's birth.
That would ba a heckuva blognik!!!
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