Sacred Heart Parish in Spencer dedicates new, remodeled facilities
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
June 14, 2004
SPENCER - Sacred Heart Parish in Spencer held a ceremony on June 3 to
dedicate additions to the church and school including a new parish hall,
expanded gathering space, garage space for pastors and a pre-kindergarten room.
The morning began with parishioners gathering outside the church under the
carport. Msgr. Mark Duchaine, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the
Diocese of Sioux City, officiated at the Mass and dedication ceremony along with
Father Ed Murray, pastor at Sacred Heart.
Also present for the Mass and dedication were Father Roger Linnan, former
pastor at Sacred Heart, and Fathers Harry McAlpine and John Cain, retired
priests of the diocese.
"Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a day of rejoicing," said
Msgr. Duchaine. "We have come together to rededicate this church by
offering within it the sacrifice of Christ."
Paul Maurer and Anna Harmon, architects, joined the priests in front of the
"On behalf of Cannon, Moss, Brygger Architects, the building committee,
the finance committee and all the committees that worked on this project, I
would like to present the keys to the church," said Maurer. "Anna
Harmon, who worked very hard on the project would like to present a set of
The parishioners were then invited to enter the church. Msgr. Duchaine said,
"Go within his gates giving thanks, enter his courts with songs of
Once inside the gathering space, the parishioners surrounded the baptismal
font for the blessing of the water. The water was used to sprinkle people as a
sign of repentance, as a reminder of baptism and to purify the walls of the
"Bless this water, sanctify it," prayed Msgr. Duchaine. "As it
is sprinkled upon us and throughout this church make it a sign of the saving
waters of baptism, by which we become one in Christ, the temple of your Spirit.
May all here today and all those in days to come, who will baptize at this font
be united at last in the holy city of your peace."
Following this blessing, the people entered the church and went to their
places. Msgr. Duchaine walked through the church sprinkling the people with the
water that had just been blessed before beginning the Mass.
Msgr. Duchaine was the homilist for the liturgy. He mentioned that Bishop R.
Walker Nickless sent his greetings and acknowledged that the bishop wanted to be
He told a story from when he was in the seminary and had gone to a Mass where
a cardinal was presiding. He had wanted to be in the cardinal's line for
Communion, but was escorted to another line.
"I visited with my spiritual advisor about this and how disappointed I
was," said Msgr. Duchaine. "He asked the question, 'so whose line was
it?' I said, 'I don't know, some priest.'"
He continued that his advisor proceeded to ask the question two more times
before Msgr. Duchaine figured out he was testing him.
"I was in Jesus' line to receive the Lord," said Msgr. Duchaine.
"That has always kind of stayed with me. The relevance of the story for us
today is that perhaps some would have desired Bishop Nickless to be here and may
be a little disappointed in his substitute, but never the less, it is not the
instrument that matters so much as it is the one who plays it."
Msgr. Duchaine mentioned that a lot of hard work went "into bringing
about this day. You have been building cohorts with the Lord under the
leadership, first of Father Linnan and then of Father Murray."
"All of you pitching in, in a variety of ways, became the hands and the
feet of the Lord to bring about this work that is now completed," said
Msgr. Duchaine. "It is the Lord who does the building."
At the conclusion of Mass, the priests led a procession to the new parish
hall for a blessing.
"We ask you now to bless us and all who will use this parish hall. May
all who come here know the presence of Christ, experience the joy of his
friendship and grow in his love," said Msgr. Duchaine.
From the parish hall, the procession went to the new pre-kindergarten room.
Msgr. Duchaine blessed the walls with holy water.
After blessing this room, the procession went back to the parish hall for a
slideshow presentation. Dick Montgomery, a member of the design committee,
talked about the project at the parish - what was done and why - using the
slideshow to display before and after pictures.
"What we are going to do this morning is review what all of you have
accomplished as a congregation in the last few years," said Montgomery.
"It has been a tremendous project and there has been a wonderful
contribution by so many people. We are thankful that we were able to work
together as a parish community to build a 21st century facility."
Montgomery also thanked several people who took part in planning and
executing the project at Sacred Heart.
"We want to thank you all for contributing your gifts, your time and
your talents. You made this possible," said Montgomery.
He acknowledged the committee members, parishioners, architects, campaign
chairs, campaign honorary chairs, all who made pledges and contributions, etc.
"I would like to congratulate Father Murray and all of you for bringing
this to such a wonderful completion," said Father Linnan, who was pastor at
Sacred Heart when the project began.
Father Murray thanked several people as well.
"I would especially like to thank Father Linnan," said Father
Murray. "These things start with someone's ideas and someone's effort has
to come after that. Efforts are made by so many people. Any project you set out
to do is one that takes a lot of people."
Joan Kallsen, a member of the design committee for the project and Sacred
Heart parishioner since 1968, thinks the project turned out beautiful.
"We are very happy with it," said Kallsen. "We are very
pleased with the end result."
Another parishioner and member of the design committee, Robin Barber,
commented that the project is "more beautiful than we could have ever
imagined. We love it."