|Facade of new Church|
For Monica Sterchele, a founding parishioner of Good Shepherd, the dedication and blessing of the Orlando church’s new building on December 20, 2013, became “one of the happiest” days of her life. “I know the heavens are here because I have been thinking all day about all of my dear friends who also helped start Good Shepherd and did so much work. (They) are looking down in all of their glory in heaven, and are seeing this accomplishment,” Sterchele said. “They are celebrating with us.”
Sterchele presented the Eucharistic gifts to Bishop John Noonan during the Mass of Dedication. Hundreds of faithful filled the church, spilling into the narthex, to celebrate and witness the dedication of the new building during the bi-lingual celebration. Among those were several Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette priests. Their community has ministered in the parish since 1981.
At 14,000 square feet, the new building replaces the old 6,000 square foot church building, which will ultimately be converted into parish office space. The project took years to come to fruition because it was paid fully in cash. A portion of the funding came from Good Shepherd’s Promise for Tomorrow Campaign, which was initiated in 2003, as well as the parish’s Alive in Christ Campaign.
|Bishop Noonan anointing the altar with oil as
Fr. Joseph O’Neil, M.S., Parochial
Administrator, looks on
(photo: Diocese of Orlando)
“My dear friends in Christ, this is a day of rejoicing,” Bishop Noonan said.” We have come together to dedicate this church by offering within it the sacrifices of Christ. May we open our hearts and minds to receive his word with faith; may our fellowship born in the one font of baptism and sustained at the one table of the Lord become the one temple of his Spirit as we gather round his altar in love.”
The celebration opened with the presentation of the key to the church to Bishop Noonan, who in turn, gave it to La Salette Missionary, Fr. Joseph O’Neil, Good Shepherd’s Parochial Administrator.
|The parish celebrating the
Dedication of their new Church
Amid song, prayer and the Liturgy, Bishop Noonan blessed the various areas of the church, including the baptismal font and ambo. In addition, every part of the church, from the lectionary to the chrism oils and the walls to the people, was recognized in a spiritual manner; however, the highlights of the celebration came when Bishop Noonan consecrated the altar and when Father O’Neil placed the chalice with the Body of Christ in the tabernacle.
As the faithful delighted in their new parish home, Bishop Noonan reminded them that the foundation of what is Good Shepherd Parish was built 57 years ago, when a small group of Catholics gathered to celebrate Mass in 1956. “The foundation of Good Shepherd was built on faith,” he said, “and this church was built on the faith of you, the people.”
“You are the church,” Bishop Noonan continued. “You are the community of faith. Each of you is a living stone. You have let yourselves be built and be molded into a spiritual house. You are the foundation on which this church has been built, a foundation that is built on solid faith in Jesus Christ and service to your brothers and sisters.”
As the celebration drew to a close, Father O’Neil offered his deep gratitude to the faithful of the parish. “This house of God dedicated to the Good Shepherd was built on your prayer and your generosity,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who worked so hard on this project. I want thank everyone who prayed so hard for this project, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this project. Thank you very much and ‘Glory to God in the highest!’”
Reception cakes depicting the new Church (left to right):
1) window of Mary speaking to the two children;
2) window of Mary seated, weeping;
3) façade of the new Church;
4) Stations One to Three.
(Article used with permission of the Diocese of Orlando, FL)