Solemn Mass of Consecration
Monday 1st July 2019
Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark
The Most Reverend Peter Smith
Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
The Right Reverend Keith Newton
The Reverend Christopher Pearson
The solemn liturgy for the dedication of a church is a moment of intense and common spiritual joy for all God’s people who live in the area. …
The parish is a beacon that radiates the light of the faith and thus responds to the deepest and truest desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families .... a church—a building in which God and man desire to meet: a house that unites us, in which we are attracted to God, and being with God unites us with one another.
The church building exists so that God’s Word may be listened to, explained and understood by us; it exists so that God’s Word may be active among us as a force that creates justice and love. It exists in particular so that in it the celebration in which God wants humanity to participate may begin, not only at the end of time but already today. It exists so that the knowledge of justice and goodness may be awakened within us, and there is no other source for knowing and strengthening this knowledge of justice and goodness other than the Word of God. It exists so that we may learn to live the joy of the Lord who is our strength.
Just as in their love man and woman become ‘one flesh’, so Christ and humanity gathered in the Church become through Christ’s love ‘one spirit’ (cf. I Cor 6: 17; Eph 5: 29ff.). The candles we light on the walls of the church in the places where anointings will take place are reminiscent precisely of the Apostles: their faith is the true light that illumines the Church and at the same time, the foundation that supports the Church.
This is the deepest purpose of this sacred building’s existence: the church exists so that in it we may encounter Christ, Son of the living God. God has a Face. God has a Name. In Christ, God was made flesh and gave himself to us in the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Church is the place of our encounter with the Son of the living God and thus becomes the place for the encounter among ourselves. This is the joy that God gives us: that he made himself one of us, that we can touch him and that he dwells among us.
Mary tells us why church buildings exist: they exist so that room may be made within us for the Word of God; so that within us and through us the Word may also be made flesh today.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican Museum to architects
1 June 2006