“The rite for the dedication of a church and an altar is rightly considered among the most solemn liturgical services. A church is the place where the Christian community is gathered to hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise to him, and above all to celebrate the holy mysteries, and it is the place where the holy sacrament of the eucharist is kept.”
- Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, May 29, 1977
On December 13, 1959, Archbishop Hurley dedicated a new chapel in honor of St. Augustine. Today, 62 years later, we celebrate the anniversary of this day. The anniversary of the dedication of our church has the rank of Solemnity, meaning that it is one of the most important feasts for us to celebrate. It was on this day that our church was set aside as a place of worship for us to gather, praise God, and be nourished by the sacraments.
Looking over the history of our community, the original student center Crane Hall was completed in 1933 and included a small chapel that could hold fifty people. Ten years later, a new chapel dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas expanded the space available for worship. In 1958 the previous buildings were torn down, and construction of St. Augustine Church began. On December 13, 1959, the church was dedicated.
What I find most beautiful about this day is how it is an opportunity for thanksgiving. What better way to give thanks to God for the gift of this church than to simply celebrate the day with great joy and offer up a sacrifice of praise through the Mass? On this day we are not just thankful for a church, but for the Church. I want to challenge you to pray with this excerpt from the Solemn Blessing for today, where the Church in her Wisdom asks the Lord to make his dwelling place within us:
May God, the Lord of heaven and earth, who has gathered you today in memory of the dedication of this church, make you abound in heavenly blessings. (R. Amen.)
And may he, who has willed that all his scattered children be gathered together in his Son, grant that you may become his temple and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. (R. Amen.)
Thus, may you be made thoroughly clean, so that God may dwell within you and you may possess with all the Saints the inheritance of eternal happiness. (R. Amen.)
On this anniversary, what are you thankful for about St. Augustine Church?
The history of our church and student center comes from this page on our website: https://catholicgators.org/our-history
Thank you to Ashley Hemingway for her help.