The purpose of a blessing, as part of the Catholic ritual, is twofold: first, a blessing serves to thank God for a gift, and second, it sets something apart for sacred use. According to Father Gabriel, Pastor of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Lisle, the new exterior church walls were the subject of a beautiful dedication and prayerful blessing on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
"The original church walls were built in 1976, created with cedar shakes," explained Father Gabriel. "Over time, the walls had deteriorated and developed leaks, so they had to be replaced. We chose durable, maintenance-free stone for the new walls, as stone is a prominent theme throughout the Bible, where Jesus is referred to as a cornerstone. Stone is a symbol of stability."
Church communities have been referred to as "living stones", built as an edifice to God. "The building itself is the house of the church; the people are the church," explained Father Gabriel. "The sizes and shapes of the stones that create the wall reflect the variety of people in a church community. Together, it's one big beautiful piece, even though each stone is irregular and individually fashioned to fit its space. The symbolism of the stone sends a message of permanence to our community, emphasizing that St. Joan's is here to stay."
The special Mass on November 18th offered a prayer of blessing, and afterwards, champagne and light refreshments were enjoyed among parishioners. "During the month-long build process, there were many remnants left over as the stones were shaped to fit the wall," said Father Gabriel. "The leftover pieces were collected in buckets, and I blessed the remnants as well. Parishioners were invited to take as many pieces as they liked for souvenirs, and some children filled large boxes with small stones to take home for use in a creative project of their choosing."
For more information, please contact:
St. Joan of Arc Catholic School and Church
Pre-K through 8th grade
820 Division Street, Lisle, IL