Celebrating a new church and a newly-energized community
Long-awaited Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Oxnard is blessed and dedicated.
A four-letter word that, in this case, is defined as “the kind of jubilation and relief expressed by a delighted parish community at the conclusion of eight years of dedicated effort.”
Or so the parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Oxnard gleefully and resoundingly replied at the end of their March 28 dedication Mass to each of the proclamations of Archbishop José Gomez: “Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva San Juan Diego! Viva Cristo Rey!”
The joyous shouts brought to a close a two-and-a-half-hour liturgy, and began a new life for the thousands of parishioners served by the historic parish in the city’s historic La Colonia district. The new 1,150-seat church virtually doubles the capacity of the old church, which will become the parish hall.
More significantly, however, the new church --- and the perseverance of the community in getting it built --- is a symbol of what “church” is truly about, as Archbishop Gomez reiterated in his homily.
“This is a symbol of the whole body of Christ,” he told the packed assembly. “It is a beautiful sign of our new identity, of who we are meant to be as Christians. Every church must be a sacred place where we can encounter the living God, where we can pledge our lives to Jesus. We are the church, and today we rejoice and give thanks to God for his many blessings.”
Missionary of the Holy Spirit Father Roberto Saldívar, pastor, expressed his gratitude to many, including Cardinal Roger Mahony, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, his pastor-predecessors, his religious community, the Haas Foundation for contributing more than $1 million of the $7 million needed to build the church, and especially the people of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.
“To raise $7 million is not easy,” he smiled. “It took a lot of effort. This church is the fruits of your faith and your hard work.”
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Prayer of the MonthPapal intentions for November: That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.
Papal intentions for December: That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.