Er worden ook nog nieuwe kerken gewijd!
Dedication of All Saints church and altar in Amsterdam
On Sunday the 26th of february a new church was dedicated with sollemn rite in the South East of Amsterdam. All Saints’ quasi parish is a vibrant African Roman Catholic community and showed itself to be so at this beautiful occasion.
At 1.00 p.m. a large congregation was gathered at Millingenhof, Amsterdam South East, to assist at the pontifical holy Mass during which the new church and altar were dedicated. The church itself has room for some 250 faithful but on this occasion there were many more. They could participate in the ceremony from the inner courtyard where televisionscreens made it possible to attend the dedication and have a good view of it. The faithful however gathered first outside the church where the procession started; at the entrance of the church the parish priest, Fr. John Affum and I openend this new house of God unlocking it. Inside, at the beginning of the Mass the congregation and the walls of the building were sprinkled with holy water. After the homily (see below) and the profession of faith the dedication of the church and the altar took place by anointing little crosses on the walls and the altar with sacred chrism together with the prayer of dedication.
This community if full of enthusiasm, the different choirs sang showing faith and ardent fervour. It was a beautiful and encouraging ceremony (it took almost three and a half hours), for me the first time to really dedicate and consecrate a church and altar with full rite (two other churches were blessed, they were less definitive).
After the Mass everyone stayed to participate in the feast and joy of this day. Apart from the many members of the parish community, a number of priests came to participate, among them of course the parish administrator the reverend dean Ambro Bakker, the priest responsable for the pastoral work in this parish, Fr. John Affum and the provincial father of the Society of African Missions (SMA).
Wholeheartedly I congratulate All Saints and wish this community God’s abundant blessings for the future!
(there are more photo’s made by drs. Dea Broersen at the bottom of this page)
Dear Fathers, brothers and sisters,
First of all I would like to congratulate you
with this beautiful church,
a house of prayer, a house of God,
a house where the Lord will grant you His grace,
where the children are baptized,
receive their first holy communion and confirmation,
where sinners - and we all are -
receive Gods pardon in the sacrament of penance,
where spouses give each other the holy sacrament of matrimony,
where we entrust our beloved deceased
to the eternal mercy of our heavenly Father,
where we share in prayer
our sorrows and joys
with God and our blessed Mother Mary;
and , of coursde, here we come together
to celebrate the holy Eucharist.
This is a house where we are always welcome,
this is your house,
since you are the living stones of His church,
This is a place of welcome
for everyone who is seeking God
and tries to find answers for his or her life.
May this place be a spiritual home for many!
You are the Christ!
We have heard the gospel-reading:
Saint Peter professes his faith,
like we do in church every Sunday
and Jesus proclaims him the rock
on which His church will be build.
We should however not forget
that this happens halfway the gospel.
Saint Peter had joined Jesus
and the group of His disciples
quite some time ago,
somehow Peter was touched
by what he heard and saw
and gradually he came to know the Lord better
and now, halfway the gospel, he replies:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.
Like saint Peter
people may enter this church
and get in touch with Jesus.
God’s grace has brought them here.
They are welcome here,
they may come to know the Lord Jesus more and more,
receive His grace
and with their hearts, like Peter did,
profess their faith.
A church is built with love!
An old story tells that centuries ago
there was a rich man
who wanted to build a church
all by himself,
that is to say: at his own cost.
To no other person it was allowed
to contribute to this church.
The church was located at a hill top
and the stones needed for the building
were carried there by horses.
At the opening of the church
a memorial plaque with his name
was to be unveiled
by this rich person.
But - the story tells us -
at this solemn occasion,
when the veil was taken away,
it was not the name of the rich man
but the name of someone else,
an unknown person.
At first, the rich man became angry
and wanted to know
what had happened and who this person was
whose name was on the plague.
Finally they brought him
a fragile, old lady,
not even capable of reaching
the church on that hilltop
all by her own.
What made her name appear on the plague?
Trembling and in tears she confessed
that every morning she had been there
at the foot of the hill
to give water and some carrots to the horses
that had to carry all these heavy stones.
And the rich man bowed his head
and the name of the woman was left there for ever,
because she acted with so much love.
This love builds the church!
A new church: community work
Yes, brothers and sisters
a church you never build alone,
it is a work of faith and love
and a work of the community.
I know that many of you
have taken part in the works
have done everything that was needed
to prepare this church.
Everyone has done
what he or she could do
and did this with love and faith.
By doing so you have built up
not only this church-building
but the community as well.
Today we admire the beautiful result.
Of course, there are no plagues with the names
of all of you,
but please know
that all you have done
and whatever work of charity you accomplish
it is seen and appreciated by our good Lord,
who will reward you everything
you have done for Him and your fellow man.
Holy water and Chrism
This church is not just a building,
it is a dwelling place for God
and for us as a community of faith.
That’s why we blessed together you
and the walls of this church
with holy water:
we remembered our baptism.
And we will anoint the walls of the church
with sacred chrism as a sign of dedication.
Chrism was used when we received
the sacrament of confirmation;
it remembers us
that we are sealed with the gift of the holy Spirit
and called to speak out the word of God,
that we are invited to spread the gospel,
to defend our faith,
to live from the gifts of the holy Spirit
and to be united with each other
in one community.
They had kept their faith!
Four hundred years ago
Catholics in Japan
were terribly persecuted;
every priest was killed,
like thousands and thousands of Christians.
Hundred fifty years ago
- 250 years after the persecution started -
again some missionaries were allowed to come in.
They build a church at Nagasaki
with a beautiful statue of Our Lady in front.
After some time some Japanese people came in
and asked whom this statue represented.
The missionaries answered:
it is the blessed Virgin Mary.
The next question was
whether they were one and united
with the man in Rome, dressed in white.
The missionaries answered: yes,
we are one with the successor of Peter, the pope.
After that, thousands and thousands of people
joined the church,
they had kept the catholic faith
during 250 years of persecution,
they had baptized their children,
they had been underground Catholics,
all hidden and secret,
but the flame of faith they had kept alive!
Radiate the gospel!
That is my wish for you today
on this beautiful occasion:
Keep the flame of your faith alive,
share it with others,
pray to your heavenly Mother Mary,
ask for her guidance and protection
and stay one with your shepherds
and the catholic church world wide.
May All Saints quasi parish
be a light on the candle,
radiate the gospel
and attract many!
May God bless you all!