Friday, November 29, 2013

Dedication of Our Lady of Hope

Well I cannot believe my last post was in OCT when we opened up the restored building in Behring Point.  As you will see, we have been a bit busy.  But speaking of Behring Point - that building has been put to work as THE place for our religious ed classes for the primary school kids on Andros.  Still no electricity, still no running water - but it works really well for our kids and seems to be a hit.

Now on to Mastic Point - if you follow the blog you know that for the last 4 years we have been travelling to North Andros to provide Sunday services for the folks up there.  The ride is horrible.  When we began the drive was about 40-50 minutes, now the roads have degraded so badly it is an hour and a half.  Despite that, we have kept going and the community has grown from a few families to a Haitian community and other local Bahamians that have had to attend other churches since there was no Catholic presence.

Well after years of fundraising and wonderful support from St. Timothy's in Norwood, MA; St. Anthony's in Cohasset, Ma; and Immaculate Conception in Weymouth, MA - plus many, many friends and family in the US and the Bahamas this community will no longer meet in the 4th grade classroom of Mastic Point Primary School.  Now we will meet in Our Lady of Hope, the newest Catholic Church in the Bahamas!
In the Rite for the Dedication of a Church there is this wonderful pic of Mary covering a church with her hands as the people gather to worship - we loved it so much we put it on the cover of the program.

The day started with us all gathering outside and the Archbishop opening the service with prayer, receiving the keys from the builder and then opening the doors so we might all process in while Ginni led us in song.

Once inside, the Archbishop blessed the Holy Water and then sprinkled the altar, the walls, and the people.

After the Holy Water came the Liturgy of the Word and the Archbishop's homily.  Then came the intercession of the Saints, which I had to sing.  I had no idea the litany was so long - three pages of saints who we called for their intercession in song!

This was followed by the Prayer of Dedication and Anointing.  The Archbishop began by pouring Chrism all over the top and at the four corners of the altar.

 Then he spread the Chrism evenly over every inch of the altar, truly consecrating it.

After anointing the altar he anointed the walls, at four distinct places where we had installed crosses for this purpose.

After the anointing came the incense.  Incensing the altar, the walls, and the people, the fragrance filled the church, as will our prayers.

Now it was time to 'dress' the altar - Ginni helped as the altar clothes are spread out for the very first time.

 The Archbishop then blessed the light that, for the first time, will illuminate the altar, and the church. He passed it off to the Deacon who brings the light of Christ to the altar.

 After lighting the altar candles I then lit the candles at the four points on the walls where the Archbishop had anointed with Chrism, and then set the table for Eucharist.

After celebrating the Eucharist we were able to gather everyone together to pose for a group picture in front of Our Lady of Hope.

We were blessed in that all the Catholics who could, travelling north to be here for one joint service.  One bus left from Behring Point, another from Fresh Creek, and a third traveled into the Haitian shanty town to bring as many as could come.  While our usually gathering at the Primary School numbers in the twenties, we had over 100 plates at the reception that followed - and ran out!  What a faith-filled crew we have here on Andros!

We want to thank everyone who participated - and if you were not here, but donated time or money - you participated.  Thanks to everyone - and please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Till next time.

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