The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light attended the dedication of St. George Maronite Church in Cranston, Rhode Island on Sunday, October 5th 2014 at a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving celebrated by His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour, concelebrated with the Pastor of St. George, Fr. Ed Nedder and Chorbishop Joseph Lahoud, and a number of other clergy.
A beautiful ritual took place after Bishop Gregory’s homily, whereby the Church of St. George was formally dedicated as a Maronite Church for the honor of God and the continued service of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. The Bishop, the various clergy present, and the altar servers then processed solemnly throughout the whole church, while the Bishop sprinkled holy water.
The dedication of the church was then followed by a festive banquet for the parish and distinguished guests at the Venus de Milo restaurant in Somerset. Many of the parishioners expressed day that this has been “a dream come true”. The dedication of their new Church has been a time-consuming and lengthy process. Nine years ago, on October 25th, 2005, the former St. George, which was located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was destroyed by fire. After the devastating fire, the Parish of St. George rented and shared a space at St. Raymond’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island.
In April of 2013, the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of St. Maron entered into an agreement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence to purchase the church and rectory of the now newly dedicated, St. George Maronite Church (which previously had been St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church).
We really learn from this dedication what it means to be “Church”. In the words of St. Augustine, “the work we see complete in this building is physical; it should find its spiritual counterpart in your hearts. We see here the finished product of stone and wood; so too your lives should reveal the handiwork of God’s grace”. As said by Fr. Ed Nedder on Sunday’s Dedication, we are “Church”, not the building. Echoing this theme, Bishop Gregory reminded us that we should re-dedicate ourselves to the service of the Lord, as faithful members of His Church.