Homily for St. Joseph Parish Church Anniversary

Is there life after death? Can we hope for happiness greater than this world affords? Will everything that is wrong be set to rights? Will a merciful judge take pity on us for all our failures? Will a loving, heavenly Father smile at us when everything is said and done?

Yes. The answer is yes.

In the midst of the daily compromises of life on earth, our souls yearn for greatness, holiness, completeness, redemption, and freedom. Where would we be if we could not hope for these things?

Wretched. We would be indescribably wretched. Better a turkey in somebody’s oven than a human being without God.

But we can hope. We can believe. We worship the Father in the spirit and truth of His only begotten Son.

Now, in order to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, it is not absolutely necessary to have a well-heated and air-conditioned church with a splendid view of a southwest-Virginia hillside. In a pinch, priests have been known to say Mass on the hulls of over-turned canoes, or on the open tailgates of pick-up trucks, or on wooden crates in the corner of concentration camps.

But having a church building certainly helps.

When the trials of life weigh upon us; when we get confused, discouraged, or distressed; when we find that even our home and hearth bears the marks of Adam’s fall—well, we have our church, the dwelling place of Emmanuel, to be the home-base for our souls.

We Americans rejoice in the blessings of a warm and comfortable home and an amply-laid table. When the Lord blesses us with these things, He has blessed us indeed, and we give thanks.

But there is no Thanksgiving dinner on earth that is as great a blessing as having a good, well-built parish church in your town, where you can pray.

2 thoughts on “Homily for St. Joseph Parish Church Anniversary

  1. Well said. However, just as an FYI, St. Joseph actually started in a room over a bakery, and having no crucifix, a member went home, removed the crucifix from his house, and returned it to the church. (the late Mr. David Donati) then moved to a basement on Myrtle Road, where the seating arrangement was limited, and female members were seated inside and male members were standing outside; the church moved to Booker and Church for a number of years, and enjoyed a variety of worship progress from actual “midnight Mass” to a variety of family events, including the rectory on the second floor of the building and the planting of Renew Dogwood tree during one of the renew professions of faith .
    In summary, we are thankful for our beautiful building, but we also were thankful for all the previous gifts of buildings and of the fine members, some long gone and some still available.

  2. Indeed, having a place to worship is one of our greatest blessings! Our current building, now 10 years old, is a wonderful place to worship and a vast improvement over our previous “blessings.” It is also a wonderful monument to Faith in the area. While larger cities and congregations may have viewed our construction budget as quite modest, it seemed almost insurmountable for our small community. Faith prevailed and the Lord provided! This church is a gift from God, and we are truly thankful for it.

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