The current Sacred Heart Cathedral, completed and dedicated in 1956 and named a cathedral in 1988, cannot accommodate the growing number of Catholic families in Knoxville. The new design for Sacred Heart Cathedral is sited centrally between the existing school, chancery, and parish offices and is the central building of a masterplan that includes additions to the school and a new gym. The proposed cathedral draws inspiration from the tradition of great Roman churches.
A growing parish near a Civil War battlefield in northern Virginia, Saint Patrick desired a larger and more prominent church. The brick façade will include a rose window, niches for statues of Saint Patrick and Saint Thomas More, and will be surmounted by a pediment and a large Celtic cross. The interior, able to accommodate six hundred, is adorned with a marble sanctuary and furnishings.
South Bend, Indiana
“The beauty of this chapel is it will inspire so many to prayer, to experience God’s presence and love in our hearts,” proclaimed Bishop Kevin Rhoades at the chapel dedication in 2012. The Chapel of Saint Joseph is located at the center of the new Saint Joseph High School in South Bend, Indiana. CSO Architects, who designed the high school, worked together with Duncan Stroik to create this sacred space.
The discalced Carmelite Friars at Holy Hill commissioned Duncan G. Stroik to design new bronze doors for the main entrance of the historic basilica shrine. The doors were dedicated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians on May 25 by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.
A new collection of liturgical furnishings designed by Duncan Stroik and crafted by Granda Liturgical Arts».
There is a new renaissance in sacred art and architecture today. We are seeing elegant new classical churches, sympathetic restorations of historic churches, and the transformation of functionalist worship spaces. What is missing? Liturgical appointments for the altar and sanctuary which support this new renaissance. Drawing upon the rich patrimony of sacred art and architecture we have created the Rinascimento collection to add beauty and solemnity to Catholic churches and dignity to the celebration of the liturgy. Rinascimento means classic design, highquality handcraftsmanship, using the finest materials. Following the lead of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI we have sought a re-appropriation of traditional forms to foster faith and devotion. The Rinascimento collection is intended to fit in with a broad variety of churches. Its classical designs are universal enough to be employed in most traditional churches, and elegant enough to become focal points of modern style churches.
The carrara and giallo di siena marble monument was installed in the side aisle at Sant’ Agatha dei Goti in Rome and dedicated by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke October 25, 2012. It celebrates the holy life and work of Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B., Benedictine abbot of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium. He was ordained a Catholic priest in the Church of Sant’ Agatha in 1881 before joining the Benedictine order in 1886 with the permission of his bishop. His written works include Christ, the Life of the Soul and Christ in His Mysteries. Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B., was declared “Blessed” by His Holiness Blessed John Paul II in the year 2000, and the monument placque was commissioned by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. The bas relief of Blessed Columba in statuario marble was sculpted by sculptor Giuseppe Ducrot of Rome.
Traverse City, Michigan
For the fiftieth anniversary of their monastery chapel, the Carmelite Nuns of Traverse City desired to beautify their sanctuary to inspire greater piety and a more beautiful liturgy. Additions include shrines to Our Lady, Saint Joseph, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, a new altar rail, marble floor and altars, Rinascimento liturgical furnishings, a hand-crafted choir grille with gate, faux-painted plaster capitals, and mahogany woodwork with gold leaf inscriptions. The inscription at the new mahogany Ionic column screen reads “I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer.” (Isaiah 56:7)
The new design for Saint Bernadette Church was commissioned to be constructed on the site of the existing parish in Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently being designed, the exterior is comprised of a beige stucco and limestone accents with an Ionic façade, statuary, and a bell tower. The large windows of the clerestory and transepts illuminate the nave and sanctuary with natural light.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
The organ case at the Cathedral of Saint Paul draws from the original unbuilt design by Emmanuel Louis Masqueray but also refines it, preserving the view of the rose window. The existing split organ system was restored and 123 new organ pipes have been installed. The new organ case is constructed of walnut with hand carved detailing and gilding. Two human-sized hand-carved angels with musical instruments adorn the organ case while Saint Cecelia, patron saint of music, stands atop the central dome below the rose window. There is seating for the choir between the towers of the organ case.
The renovation of the sanctuary of Saint Mary Church in Norwalk, Connecticut took place in a multi-phase project. The main elements of the renovation include a marble sanctuary, altar rail, and ambo. The marble side altars are reconstructed, and decorative painting is complete in the sanctuary and the nave of the church. The final phase provided a new high altar reredos that serves as the frame for a new painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Leonard Porter.
His Excellency William E. Lori, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut re-dedicated Saint Mary Church on May 7, 2010. His homily follows:
The Blessed Virgin Mary is surely smiling upon us as we re-dedicate this Church of St. Mary to the glory of God. We do so in this month of May, traditionally dedicated to Our Lady, and in the Easter Season, made bright with the joy of the Risen Christ. And thus, through the prayer of the Church, we yet again call down the Holy Spirit upon this venerable structure, with hearts filled with joy and gratitude to the Triune God.
The beauty of this Church, this Domus Dei, this house of God in our midst, reflects the beauty of its patron, the Virgin Mother of God. No other creature reflected God’s beauty more than Mary, immaculately conceived and full of grace, a fitting temple in whom the Eternal Son of God deigned to dwell and take flesh. From her we have received the Incarnate Word, the Word made flesh, proclaimed in the Church for two millennia. From her we have received the Redeemer who died and rose to save us and whose visible presence and saving deeds have passed into the sacraments, celebrated in this magnificent parish Church, one of the oldest in the Diocese. Let us now ask Mary, brimming with the beauty of the Risen Lord, glowing as the moon glows with the light of the sun, to help us acquire a faithful understanding and an understanding faith as we celebrate the rededication of St. Mary Church, among the most beautiful of the Church’s sacred rites. Above all, may Mary help us to worship this night, in spirit and in truth!
As the Scriptures were proclaimed, I prayed: “May the word of God always be heard in this place as it unfolds the mystery of Christ and achieves salvation with the Church.” This night, we call upon the Mother of the Word Incarnate, who accepted the Word of God in its totality with complete obedience, to pray for us that we will listen to her Son speaking to us in the Scriptures whenever we gather for Holy Mass and for the Sacraments. Through Mary’s prayers and example, may we regard the Church as both our mother and our teacher as she guides us to accept the authentic Word of God through her Magisterium.
At the beginning of these sacred rites, I blessed water and sprinkled you, the congregation, the church’s walls, and the altar as a reminder of Baptism and, by extension, the sacrament of Penance. As we bless the beautiful new baptismal font, we call upon Mary, the New Eve, the Mother who gave us new life in Christ. With St. Gregory of Nanzianzen, we acclaim baptism as “…God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift” which has made us adopted children of the Heavenly Father, members of the Church, and disciples of Christ. And we ask Mary, the model of all consecration for all time, to pray that we will be faithful to the consecration we received at Baptism, so that we will reject sin, embrace the faith, and live the law of love in the spirit of the beatitudes.
Within this beautifully renovated church, is a newly installed confessional where the burden of sin is lifted by the words of absolution, where God’s grace is renewed within us. Here too, we turn to Mary, as the Mother of Reconciliation. Mary was sinless from the first moment of her conception and throughout her life, not so as to be an impossible ideal but rather to be a sign of hope for us. With those who have gone before us, we call upon Mary, the refuge of sinners, and ask her to lead us to her Son, whom we call “Mercy Incarnate”. When we go to confession, do we not sense Mary’s loving presence and her maternal hand guiding us toward the path of holiness and virtue? We sense this because daily we pray to her, ‘pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death!’
In a few moments, the new altar will be dedicated, that place where heaven and earth intersect, where earth is joined to heaven. Here Christ makes himself present when, through the words of the priest and the action of the Holy Spirit; the paschal sacrifice of Christ in truth is re-presented, as bread and wine become His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Just as Mary stored in her sinless heart all that her Son said and did to save us, so too does the Church remember the saving words and deeds of her Redeemer, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, brings them forth, for us and for our salvation. Just as Mary told the waiters at Cana to do what her Son would tell them, so too she urges us to obey the command of her Son uttered at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me!” Even as Mary conceived the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in her womb, so too she asks us to welcome the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ into our hearts so that we might bring is light to a sin-darkened world. No wonder the Venerable Pope John Paul II reminded us that Mary is present with the Church whenever the Eucharist is celebrated. How she smiles upon us, how she prays with us and for us as we dedicate this altar to the divine mysteries of her Son, Jesus Christ!
Pope Paul VI once described the tabernacle as “the living heart of each of our churches”, for it is here that the Blessed Sacrament is always reserved, here that the Eucharistic Lord waits for us to visit him to bring our love, our thanks, our needs, and to receive the help that we need. When the Word was made flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she became, as it were, the first tabernacle in history. Aided by the prayers of Mary, we recognize the tabernacle of this church as the place where Christ dwells among us and we hail him in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “Verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,” – “Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary! As we do so, we ask for the grace to become ourselves living tabernacles whenever we receive the Eucharist, so that our hearts, our homes, may be dwelling places for Christ in the Spirit. Thus, in this moment of solemn re-dedication, may the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for this parish of St. Mary, for its pastor, Fr. Markey, who has overseen this restoration, and may she obtain for us all the graces we need to arrive at our heavenly home!
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!
The design for a new campus for a New England liberal arts college is inspired by the Lawn at the University of Virginia. The new campus prominently features a large chapel sized for the entire student body on axis with the quadrangle, a library, a refectory, performing arts spaces, classrooms, dormitories, and the necessary support spaces for a college of this stature.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
The restoration of this early twentieth century cathedral designed by Emmanuel Louis Masqueray restored the interior to its former glory. A new marble altar and baldacchino have been installed in the sanctuary along with a new marble ambo and cathedra. A new decorative marble slab floor was installed throughout the entire church replacing the monochromatic stone tile. Also, as part of this renovation, the mechanical, electrical, sound reinforcement, and lighting systems were replaced or upgraded including new custom chandeliers replicated from photographs of the originals.
Mass of Dedication of the New Altar
The Most Reverend Paul J. Swain
Brother bishops, Abbot Dennis, priests, deacons, consecrated and lay faithful, Mayor Huether, and
other dignitaries, thank you for being here this afternoon on this historic occasion for the Diocese of
Sioux Falls and for the greater community. I especially want to acknowledge the presence of Archbishop
Carlson whose vision began what we complete this day. We also welcome home Archbishop Gullickson
and Bishop Kettler, priest sons of the diocese.
In our first reading from the Book of Genesis we hear of the dream of Jacob, in which appears a
staircase, sometimes called a ladder, connecting heaven and earth with angels going up and down. Jacob
encounters the Lord and is moved to exclaim what we might proclaim today, “How awesome is this
shrine. This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that it is the gateway to heaven. Truly the Lord is in
this place.” Angels abound in our Cathedral which too in a way is a gateway to heaven. Here too we can
encounter the Lord. He will be present in an even more profound way through the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass and with the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Truly the Lord is in this place.
It is appropriate that we gather to celebrate the completion of the preservation, beautification and
restoration of the Cathedral on the Memorial of SS Joachim and Anne, by tradition the names given to the
parents of the Blessed Mother and often referred to as the grandparents of Jesus. It was your parents,
grandparents and great grandparents who built and maintained this special place with vision, sacrifice,
perseverance and faith. Bishop O’Gorman and they clearly desired to send a bold message in stone, one of
faith, one of hope and one of invitation. Proclaiming boldly the love and mercy of Christ is as needed
today. Thank you to all of you who have made this day possible. Because of their and your sacrifice, this
is once again a place to come to pray, to rest, to be forgiven, to be restored, but most especially to
encounter God. Truly the Lord is in this place.
Oh how we need signs of hope and places of rest in our world today, so filled with violence,
incivility, injustice, narcissism and disrespect for life. Pope Benedict XVI when he visited St. Patrick
Cathedral in New York several years ago noted the beauty of its stained glass windows, not unlike ours.
He said, “From the outside those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the Church,
they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor. . . It is
only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life that we see the church as she truly is:
flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned with the manifold gifts of the Spirit. It follows that we,
who live the life of grace within the church’s communion are called to draw all people into this mystery
of light.” That is our mission here in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, to respond to the call to new and
But then he continued: “this is not an easy task in a world which can tend to look at the church,
like those stained glass windows from the outside, a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet
finds it difficult to enter into the mystery of the church. Even for those of us within, the light of faith can
be dimmed by routine, and the splendor of the church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her
members. It can be dimmed too by the obstacles encountered in a society which sometimes seems to have
forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality. You who have
devoted your lives to bearing witness to the love of Christ and the building up of his Body know from
your daily contact with the world around us how tempting it is at times to give way to frustration,
disappointment and even pessimism about the future. In a word, it is not always easy to see the light of
the Spirit all about us, the splendor of the Risen Lord illuminating our lives and instilling renewed hope in
his victory over the world. Yet,” he concluded, “the word of God reminds us that, in faith, we see the
heavens opened and the grace of the Holy Spirit lighting up the church and bringing sure hope to the
It is my prayer that this restored Cathedral will be a shining light on the hill outside and in, by the
beauty of sacred things and by the beauty of faith lived well, and therefore be a sign of the hope that can
only be fulfilled in Christ. And so we invite all to come here on pilgrimage and to seek to satisfy the
yearning for the holy, to discover meaning in the midst of trial even fear, and to experience the peace that
comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and friend.
This place is filled with examples of those who discovered the peace that Christ offers. We will
soon place in the new altar the relics of three saints who can inspire us: Maria Goretti, who at the age of
12 was violently attacked yet forgave her attacker before she died and received the fullness of life;
Thomas Becket, who too was martyred for the faith for his refusal to give in to unjust laws and what was
popular or politically correct; and Pope Pius X, who recognized what a grace receiving Holy Communion
is by urging regular reception, who raised up sacred music, and who stood firm to preserve the unity of
the Church universal. There are more inspiring witnesses portrayed here in window, in relief and in
symbol. There is Peter.
“Who do you say that I am,” Jesus challenged the apostles in the Gospel. Peter’s response has
been called his profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”2 He did not at first fully
understand or live it perfectly. We know that subsequently he tried to get Jesus to change his travel plans
to avoid the danger that was the Passion, and that he denied Jesus three times ultimately breaking down in
tears over his failure to be true. We also know that Our Lord forgave him and missioned him and built the
Church upon him. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit Peter experienced the conversion to which each of us
is invited. He too is a witness of Christ’s love and mercy.
Each of us each day, whatever our vocation, is asked to respond to the question who do you say
that I am. Not what do the polls say or what do others say, but who do we say He is. How we respond will
shape our lives and affect those we love, and the life to come.
Sacred art, beauty can show us the way. As Pope Benedict XVI noted, beauty, “genuine beauty
unlocks the yearning of the human heart, opening afresh the eyes of our hearts and minds, giving man
Allow me to share one testimony on how beauty helped change a life. There was a young
reasonably successful professional who felt something missing in his life. Searching for what he knew
not, he found himself spending time in a Catholic church though he was not Catholic, mystified about
why. This confused and aimless young man sat in the back trying to find his way in the missalette, was
moved by the Stations of the Cross and intrigued by the statues of saints he had never heard of. Ever
before him was a haunting crucifix, the body of Christ on the cross. “Who do you say that I am,” Jesus
was asking him. That young man of course was me. It took awhile but I was touched enough in part by
beauty to turn from my old ways and to open my heart to declare in a new way: “You are the Christ, the
Son of God.”2 Like Peter I did not know what it fully meant but the “eyes of my heart and mind were
opened afresh”. That response was deepened when I accepted the truth of His real presence Body and
Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. After that I could not help but come home to His church.
What a joyful day it was when I like Peter professed my faith. Then God called me to the priesthood. And
He topped it off by bringing to South Dakota. Perhaps men or women, young and not so young, will be
drawn to the Lord by pondering the genuine beauty here in this Cathedral which your parents and
grandparents, and you, have made possible.
When asked what was my vision for our new crucifix my response was something to the effect, I
want us to be able to look with awe at our Lord hanging there and then humbly acknowledge: He did that
for me, for us; He loved us that much and still does.
This Cathedral of St. Joseph is not a museum though there is much to admire and ponder; this is
not a concert hall though the beauty of sacred music will lift our souls; this is not a gathering space
though it is a place where we can come together to share our joys and support one another in our sorrows.
This is our Beacon of Hope where we with humble and grateful hearts can declare: “How awesome is this
shrine. This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that it is the gateway to heaven. Truly the Lord is in
Mass of Dedication of the New Altar
The Most Reverend Paul J. Swain
Bishop of Sioux Falls
July 26, 2011 ~ Memorial Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne
Cathedral of St. Joseph
1- Pope Benedict XVI, Mass Homily, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, April 19, 2008
2- Matthew 16: 15-16
3- Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Artists, Sistine Chapel, November 21, 2009
Sugar Land, Texas
The Saint Theresa Education Center is the first phase of a masterplan designed to revitalize the parish campus. The new building will serve this large parish in the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston in several ways: it will house a new elementary school for Kindergarten through Sixth grade, provide offices for the parish staff, and house offices for catechetical education of children and adults. The two-story brick and limestone building is inspired by the nearby Saint Mary Seminary and Ralph Adams Cram’s inventive buildings at Rice University.
St. Louis, Missouri
The Shrine to the Sacred Heart, located in the west transept of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, features a mosaic image of the Sacred Heart handcrafted by the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the Vatican mosaic studio. The shrine was conceived by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke to foster the devotion of the faithful to the Sacred Heart. The Shrine was dedicated on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 17, 2007.
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Saint Paul the Apostle Church, is located prominently on East Main Street in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina. The design for the church of St. Paul is modeled on the broad tradition of Catholic architecture in the United States as well as Lombard Romanesque architecture. The 850 seat church incorporates a barrel vaulted nave ceiling and side aisles framed by arcades.
Sugar Land, Texas
This renovation of the existing sanctuary of a large parish church in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston focuses around a new baldacchino in the form of a triumphal arch and new marble altar. The polychromed Corinthian columns give a monumental scale to this large church and draw the focus to three elements: the altar, tabernacle, and crucifix above.
This renovation includes a restaurant garden patio and a new façade for an existing garage and studio apartment building. Carved limestone walls, hand-crafted wrought iron gates and bluestone paving provide a unique enclosure for private dining in an outdoor setting fitting for its Kentucky location.
Sugar Land, Texas
This is a renovation of a daily mass chapel for a large parish church in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The pastor desired to create a place of prayer and devotion that would support and honor the liturgy. The chapel is dedicated to Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower, and occasioned the commissioning of a new stained glass window of the saint within the sanctuary. The addition of a new marble slab floor and a custom wood and marble altar are the focus of the project. With a limited budget, the design called for research in inexpensive materials and the creative use of color.
South Bend, Indiana
The architectural context is seen as the broad tradition and history of the villa type with special interest in the work of Andrea Palladio and Thomas Jefferson. The architect’s goal was to reinstate the simple pleasures of the villa life in contemporary society while raising the standard of architectural and artistic form as a benefit to the public realm. The artist’s goal was to give meaning and form to the rituals and beliefs of the family with full awareness of the modern life. The proposed frescos and sculpture are progeny of seicento and settecento Italian artists such as Veronese, Vittoria and Tiepolo who sought to give form to the aspirations of their times while also reflecting on the art and moral philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome.
The building’s design grew out of the architect’s research and measured drawings of the architecture of Andrea Palladio in the Italian Veneto. In his innovative designs Palladio created a new type by combining the summer house or castello with vernacular farm buildings and by wedding them architecturally to the agricultural landscape. Villa Indiana is a conscious transformation of the Palladian villa type at a scale appropriate for a young family while maintaining the proportions of Palladio’s masterpieces.
Santa Paula, California
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity is prominently located at the head of the main quadrangle at Thomas Aquinas College. This important location reflects the centrality of faith in the pursuit of wisdom. The design for the chapel is inspired by the churches of Southern California as well as the broader Catholic tradition.
SANTA PAULA, CA — The archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, presided at the Dedication Mass of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 11:00 a.m.
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel is the 12th of 15 buildings to be completed on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College. At a cost of $23 million, it is 15,000-square feet in area and is the most prominently situated and most elaborate of the structures on the campus. The Chapel is cruciform in shape and features a 135-foot bell tower.
Although the basis of its design is in the Spanish Mission style of Southern California, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel also incorporates elements from the Catholic Church’s long tradition of sacred architecture, such as a dome that rises 89 feet over the sanctuary, floors and columns of Italian marble, and an ornate limestone façade.
In 2003, before construction began, Pope John Paul II blessed the plans for Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and just this past fall, the cornerstone of the new building was shipped to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI. Says college president Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, “Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel will be a statement in stone, as it were, for our students and for all who visit our campus that Thomas Aquinas College is resolved to remain ever loyal to the Vicar of Christ and faithful to the teaching Church.”
The new chapel has permanent seating for 450 in its nave and loft, and its generous side aisles can be used to accommodate another 250 in temporary seating. The chapel’s soaring vaulted ceiling, while helping to lift the hearts and minds of the congregation to God, will also provide outstanding acoustics for the college’s student choir and chant schola, which provided the music at the Dedication Mass with selections from composers such as Hassler, Mozart, Dubois, and Palestrina.
Says college chaplain Rev. Cornelius Buckley, S.J., “The name that has been chosen for our new chapel is fitting, since the entire academic program at Thomas Aquinas College culminates in the study of St. Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on the Trinity.” He adds, “And Mary is our model par excellence in her relationship to the Holy Trinity — the perfect daughter of the Father, the most admirable mother of the Son, and the dearest spouse of the Holy Spirit.”
Once dedicated, the new chapel will be the site of the College’s four daily Masses as well as the many devotions initiated and attended by a large majority of its 350 students, who hail from across the country and abroad.
Bullhead City, Arizona
The design for the church of Saint Margaret Mary is inspired by the mission churches of Mexico and the American Southwest. The church is located on a plateau next to existing parish buildings and can be seen from a great distance. The exterior of the church is finished in stucco with a clay tile roof and a bell tower on the south side.
This is a private chapel located in a new villa built among the rolling hills of Nebraska. Inspired by the simple rationality of the Florentine Renaissance, the room is configured with a vaulted nave and a domed sanctuary. Side chapels in the front and rear of the chapel are dedicated to Our Lady, the Archangel Michael, Saint Joseph, and Saint Francis of Assisi.
All Saints Church is located on a raised site in the countryside near Covington, Kentucky, and offers a vision of the sacred to those living and working in the area. The major approaches to the church offer views of its apse or its layered façade that emphasizes the church as Domus Dei. A small plaza creates a focus and gathering space for the church, as well as for the existing school and rectory. The composition of the exterior and interior references the classical architecture of the South, as well as that of Catholic architectural tradition.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the vision of His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. It is meant to be a place for the faithful to come on pilgrimage and to foster devotion to the Blessed Virgin under her title of Patroness of the Americas. In the tradition of pilgrimage churches, the Shrine is located high upon a hill outside of the city with a campanile and dome which are visible from afar.
Neh 8:2–4a, 5–6, 8–10
Ps 19:8–9, 10, 15
1 Cor 3:9c–11, 16–17
2 Chr 7:16
Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Founder
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen.
1. When the Mother of God appeared to Saint Juan Diego, for the first time, on December 9, 1531, she spoke, most lovingly and directly, about the purpose of her apparition. She expressed her firm desire that a chapel be built, in which she might manifest the mercy and love of God to her children of America (cf. Nican Mopohua, nos. 26–32). She made it clear that, for the fulfillment of her desire, Juan Diego, a Native American whom she addressed as her dearest son, was to be her messenger to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga (Nican Mopohua, nos. 33–37).
2. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared with child, with God the Son Incarnate in her womb, on what was, at that time and in that place, the feast of her Immaculate Conception. She appeared as the “woman clothed with the sun,” described in the Book of Revelation, who would bring forth from her womb “a male child, one who is to rule all the nations” (cf. Rv 12:5). Every detail of her vesture and of the setting pointed to the great mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation, of the Coming of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity in our human nature to save us from everlasting death and to win our hearts for God the Father, for ever (cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est, “On Christian Love,” 25 December 2005, no. 17).
3. The Mother of God desired that a chapel be built, to which she would invite her children to come on pilgrimage, in order that she might show them anew the living presence of God the Son with them in His holy Church, accompanying them along the way of their life pilgrimage. At her fourth and final apparition to Saint Juan Diego, on December 12, 1531, our Lord granted that her image remain with us, in a miraculous way, on the tilma of Juan Diego. Her image, not made by a human hand, was to be enthroned in her chapel, so that she might continue to appear to her children and to speak to them her message of divine mercy and love. Through her miraculous image, Our Lady of Guadalupe leads her children to know and live the truth that God the Son took a human heart under her Immaculate Heart, in order that He might offer Himself in a pure, selfless and total sacrifice to obtain, for them, the forgiveness of sins and a share in His inheritance of eternal life.
4. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God and Mother of America, leads her children to the Church, built upon the “rock” of Saint Peter’s profession of faith in her Son, the only-begotten Son of God: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Gospel). She draws us to the great mystery of God’s love of us in His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in which mystery she, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, has been the first and best co-worker. She teaches us the truth that, in Jesus Christ alone, we find our salvation; the truth that Jesus Christ, by His living presence in the Church, gives, to Saint Peter and his successors, “the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,” for the sake of the salvation of all mankind, without boundary or exception (Gospel).
5. By her apparitions to Saint Juan Diego, the Mother of God showed herself to be the first and best among us who are the members of her Son’s Mystical Body, the Church. She spoke and acted as the perfect woman of the Church, insisting that her desire of a chapel, of a place of pilgrimage, could only be accomplished with the blessing and at the direction of the Bishop, a true successor of the Apostles. Her apparitions and her message underlined for her children the truth that our Bishops and their priests are, in the words of Saint Juan Diego, “the images of our Lord,” through their teaching, sanctifying and governing mission, carried out in His person as our Head and Shepherd (cf. Nican Mopohua, no. 24).
6A. Inviting her sons and daughters to come on pilgrimage to her chapel, Our Lady of Guadalupe uncovers for them the extraordinary truth about their ordinary daily living, namely, that they are called to live in Christ, that Christ thirsts for their love, in order that they might belong totally to Him and in Him find joy and peace during the days of their earthly pilgrimage and the fullness of joy and peace at the end of their pilgrimage in “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22). Welcoming her children to her chapel, the temple of her Son, even as her womb was His temple, she teaches them that their daily living has its secure foundation in Jesus Christ, that they, too, are indeed temples of God, temples in which her Divine Son has chosen to dwell through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit (Reading II). Returning to their homes, her pilgrims will be filled with new enthusiasm and new energy to live in Christ more perfectly, in their homes, their parishes, their neighborhoods and local communities, and in the wide community of our world.
6B. Invitando a sus hijos e hijas a que vengan en peregrinación a su capilla, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe revela para ellos la extraordinaria verdad sobre su vida diaria ordinaria, específicamente, que tienen un llamado para vivir en Cristo, que Cristo tiene sed de su amor, para que puedan ser de él totalmente y en él encontrar alegría y paz durante sus días de peregrinación aquí en la tierra y la plenitud de esa alegría y paz al final de su peregrinación en “la ciudad del Dios vivo, la Jerusalén celestial” (Heb 12:22). Acogiendo a sus hijos en su capilla, el templo de su Hijo, así como su matriz fue templo, ella les enseña que su vida diaria tiene cimientos sólidos en Jesucristo, que de hecho ellos también son templos de Dios, templos en los cuales su divino Hijo decidió morar por el derramamiento de Su Espíritu Santo (Segunda Lectura). Regresando a sus hogares, sus peregrinos estarán llenos de nuevo entusiasmo y de nueva energía para vivir más perfectamente en Cristo, dentro de sus hogares, parroquias, vecindades y comunidades locales, y en la vasta comundidad de nuestro mondo.
7. Our Lady of Guadalupe, drawing us to herself, takes us, with maternal tenderness and directness, to her Divine Son, above all, in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance, with the instruction which she gave to the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). The words of her dialogue with her Son and Lord, and of her instruction to the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast at Cana are fittingly inscribed in the dome of this church which we will now dedicate to His and to her honor. They are, in short, the program of our life pilgrimage, which we discover anew on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
8. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s message of divine mercy and love is verified for us, today, in the ancient and most solemn rite of the Dedication of a Church and Altar of Sacrifice. God dwells with us, in a pre-eminent way, in our churches and chapels which are set apart by the Prayer of Consecration and the Anointing of the Altar of Sacrifice and of the Walls with the Sacred Chrism.
9. The offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass on the newly-consecrated altar brings to fullness the Rite of Dedication. Through His Eucharistic Sacrifice, God the Son will dwell with us, here, in the most wonderful way of all, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, offered and poured out for us on Calvary, the oblation which He makes ever present for us in the Holy Mass. The crucifix is suspended directly above the altar of sacrifice to remind us of the great mystery which takes place before our eyes, at every offering of the Holy Mass. Rightly the altar of sacrifice is the visual point of focus and the spiritual point of arrival in every church and chapel. In the same way, every pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe finds its fulfillment in the most sublime encounter with Christ, our Savior, in the Holy Eucharist. Without the altar of sacrifice, without the offering of the Holy Mass, without the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, there is no chapel in which Our Lady of Guadalupe can fully manifest to our minds and hearts the mystery of God’s mercy and love in our lives.
10. Our Lord Jesus will remain with us in this holy place, for the Sacred Hosts consecrated at the altar of sacrifice will be reposed in the tabernacle after Holy Communion. The tabernacle is placed in direct relation to the altar of sacrifice, so that, upon entering the church, our eyes are directed, at once, to the altar and to the tabernacle. Our Lady of Guadalupe, in her most beautiful representation, stands in the background, drawing us to herself, so that she may take us to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and in adoration of His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
11. Our Lady, drawing us to her Son in the Holy Eucharist, also leads us to meet Him in the Sacrament of Penance, in order that our hearts may be purified of anything, even the smallest thing, which may keep us from resting totally in the glorious pierced Heart of her Divine Son. Integral to her invitation to come on pilgrimage to her chapel is her leading us to meet Christ in the Sacrament of Penance for the confession and forgiveness of our sins. Here, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, at any hour, pilgrims, repentant of their sins, will be able to meet Christ in the Sacrament of Confession.
12. The altar of sacrifice represents for us the deepest meaning of our lives, the truth which we seek and find on pilgrimage. Because we are united with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, accomplished on the altar, we, in turn, become altars of sacrifice with Him, offering our lives totally in love of God and our neighbor. United in heart and, indeed, in our whole being, to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to offer our lives as a pure and holy sacrifice. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has reminded us that every aspect of our lives is transformed by the Holy Eucharist, by the union of our hearts with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “On the Holy Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission,” he instructed us with these striking words:
Worship pleasing to God thus becomes a new way of living our whole life, each particular moment of which is lifted up, since it is lived as part of a relationship with Christ and as an offering to God — Pope Benedict XVI, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, “On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission,” 22 Feburary 2007, no. 71
It is indeed our identification of self with the altar, which calls forth daily the very best we have to offer, which enables us to go beyond our sinful tendencies, in order to become a sincere gift of love to God and to our neighbor. It comes as no surprise that one of the principal fruits of a sacred pilgrimage is a deeper and more generous engagement in love of our neighbor, especially of our brothers and sisters who are in most need.
13. Our communion with Christ here is, at one and the same time, communion with all of our brothers and sisters. The beauty of this church lifts up our minds and hearts to Christ Who shares with us the gift of Divine Love, without boundary or exception; to Christ Who is all beautiful because He is all-loving. The beauty of this church inspires us to the even greater beauty of a holy life, lived in Christ. Just as Christ dwelt in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so He will dwell here, in order that He may dwell in each of us, through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.
14. The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message brought the Native Americans and Europeans, dwelling in Mexico at the time, to Christ and, through their life in Christ, to a remarkable communion with one another. They, who were on the brink of a most bloody conflict, destined to end in the violent death of countless brothers and sisters, formed, under the maternal care and through the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one people who addresses Our Lady by the affectionate name, La Morenita, referring to the color of her skin, which is, at once, true to her Palestinian origin and to the mestiza face of the one people of Mexico.
15. At the same time, through the conversion of literally millions of Native Americans, Our Lady of Guadalupe helped to bring an end to the diabolical practice of human sacrifice, which, at the time, was most violently destroying the lives of tens of thousands of our Native American brothers and sisters. Rightly, Our Lady of Guadalupe is called the Star of the First Evangelization of America, for she led her children of America, Native American and European, to the teaching and living of faith in Jesus Christ Who unites every brother and sister in respect for the inviolable dignity of human life, created in the divine image and likeness, and redeemed by His Suffering and Dying on the Cross.
16. In our time, Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to exercise her maternal care and to make unceasing intercession for the restoration of the respect for all human life, especially the lives of our innocent and defenseless brothers and sisters, and of our brothers and sisters who carry a heavy burden of suffering because of special needs, serious illness or advanced years. In our time and in our nation, millions of infants in the womb have been destroyed through the legalized practice of procured abortion, and the lives of our weak and vulnerable brothers and sisters are increasingly under threat and attack. The culture of death surrounds us and threatens to overwhelm us, but Our Lady of Guadalupe leads us to Christ Who reveals to us, by His own Conception in her Immaculate Womb and by His Birth, and by His Suffering and Dying, the inviolable dignity of every human life, from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death. In our doubt and fear that we can do all that God asks of us to overcome the culture of death and to foster a civilization of divine life and love, Our Lady of Guadalupe assures us of her care and intercession. She speaks to us the words which she first spoke to Saint Juan Diego:
Am I not here, I who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and watch? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the fold of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? — Nican Mopohua, nos. 118–119
Leaving Our Lady’s church to return home, the pilgrim will read these words and be inspired to call upon the unfailing protection and intercession of the Mother of God in doing all that her Divine Son tells us, especially in giving witness to the Gospel of Life.
17A. Mother of America, Our Lady of Guadalupe draws the many and diverse peoples of South and Central and North America into one people, her sons and daughters for whom her Divine Son poured out His life on Calvary and for whom He never ceases to pours out His life in the Church. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II, with the Bishops of the entire American continent in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America, held from November 16th to December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in 1997, invoked Our Lady of Guadalupe as Star of the New Evangelization. The Servant of God expressed his hope for our continent in these words:
It is my heartfelt hope that she, whose intercession was responsible for strengthening the faith of the first disciples (cf. Jn 2:11), will by her maternal intercession guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early Church (cf. Acts 1:14), so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life — Pope John Paul II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, “On the Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion, and Solidarity in America,” 22 January 1999, no. 11
May Mary Immaculate, our Mother and Star, lead us to Christ Who will overcome in us anything which divides us as brothers and sisters of America. May the grace of Christ, coming to us through Our Lady of Guadalupe, overcome in us every form of national or racial prejudice and hatred, and lead the diverse peoples of the one continent of America to the unity which her Divine Son alone creates in human hearts.
17B. Como Madre de América, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe atrae a muchas y diversas personas de Sur, Centro y Norteamérica y los convierte en sus hijos e hijas por quienes su divino Hijo vertió su vida en el Calvario y para quienes él nunca cesa de dar su vida en la Iglesia. El Siervo de Dios Papa Juan Pablo II, con los Obispos de todo el continente americano en la asemblea especial del Sínodo de Obispos para América, que se llevo a cabo desde el 16 de noviembre al 12 de diciembre, la Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, en 1997, invocó a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe como la Estrella de la Nueva Evangelización. El Siervo de Dios expresó su esperanza para nuestro continente con estas palabras:
Abrigo en mi corazón la firme esperanza de que ella, a cuya intercesión se debe el fortalecimiento de la fe de los primeros discípulos (cf. Jn 2:11), guíe con su intercesión maternal a la Iglesia en este Continente, alcanzándole la efusión del Espíritu Santo como en la Iglesia naciente (cf. Hch 1:14), para que la nueva evangelización produzca un espléndido florecimiento de vida cristiana — Papa Juan Pablo II, Exhortación Apostólica Postsinodal Ecclesia in America, “Sobre el Encuentro con Jesucristo Vivo, Camino para la Conversión, la Comunión y la Solidaridad en América,” 22 de enero de 1999, no. 11
Que María Inmaculada, nuestra Madre y Estrella, nos guie hacia Cristo que transformará en nuestros corazones todo aquello que nos impida ser hermanos y hermanas en América. Que la gracia de Cristo, que nos llega a través de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, elimine en nosostros toda forma de odio y prejuicio racial o nacional y que guie los diversos pueblos de este continente de América a la unidad que solo el Divino Hijo de María puede crear en los corazones humanos.
18. The placing of the relics of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin, and Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, Priest and Martyr, into the altar of sacrifice reminds us that our life in Christ is lived in communion with all the saints who are both our inspiration and our intercessors for the many graces which we need to remain faithful pilgrims on the way to our heavenly homeland. The placing of the relics reminds us that, at every offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God; Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro; and all the saints join us in the worship of God through the offering of our lives in pure and selfless love.
19. Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, like her older Native American brother, Saint Juan Diego, was led to an ever deeper union with Christ through her devotion to the Mother of God, above all, through her praying of the Rosary. Her oneness of heart with the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired her to offer her virginity to Christ in faithful and enduring spousal love, a love nurtured by frequent reception of Holy Communion and of daily and prolonged prayer before the tabernacle. When her life in Christ reached its fullness in death, she peacefully handed over her life to her Divine Bridegroom with the words: “Jesus, I love Thee” (cf. Katharine Tekakwitha: The Lily of the Mohawks [The Positio of the Historical Section of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on the Introduction of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization and on the Virtues of the Servant of God], New York: Fordham University Press, 1940, pp. 34–35, 44–47, and 53).
20. Through his father’s impassioned plea for the help of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the infant Miguel Agustín Pro was delivered from a chronic illness which threatened to snuff out his life. Throughout his life, so heavily burdened with chronic physical illness and, most of all, by the violent persecution of the Church in his beloved homeland of Mexico, Blessed Miguel Pro unfailingly invoked the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe. After his martyr’s death, a visit to the prison cell in which his brother and he had awaited execution revealed two prayers which they had inscribed on the wall: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!, and ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! (cf. Ann Ball, Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th-Century Mexican Martyr, Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1996, pp. 2–3, and 75–76). In a most extraordinary way, Blessed Miguel Pro teaches us to keep our life in Christ pure and strong, invoking the intercession of the Mother of God and following her example.
21. I conclude by returning to the beginning of our celebration. We began the Rite of Dedication by purifying ourselves, the church building and altar of sacrifice with Holy Water, and by listening to the Word of God, proclaimed for our instruction. The sequence of the Rite reminds us that there is something which must go before the union of our hearts with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. It is the opening of our minds through the confession of our sins and instruction in the Word of God, handed down to us faithfully in the Church. Like God’s holy people, at the time of the restoration of Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity, the hearing of God’s Word, proclaimed for us in the sacred assembly, fills our minds and hearts with sorrow for our sins and with the humble wonder at God’s immense love of us, which leads to true worship, to the encounter with God Who dwells with us, as we confidently and joyfully exclaim: “Amen, amen!” (Reading I).
22. Saint Juan Diego was on his way to receive instruction from the Franciscan Friars, when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to him at Tepeyac Hill. Over the course of five apparitions, Our Lady instructed Saint Juan Diego and his uncle, Juan Bernardino, regarding the truth of the Redemptive Incarnation. Through her apparitions, she was the vehicle for the instruction of millions of Native Americans who received the gift of faith and Baptism. Juan Diego dedicated the seventeen years of his life, which remained after Our Lady’s apparitions, to giving catechesis to the pilgrims who came to venerate her miraculous image.
23. How sorely needed is the same instruction in our time and place, in our culture which has either forgotten or has never known the Gospel of God’s mercy and love! How much our society, especially our young people, are hungering to know Christ in all of the richness of His life with us in the Church! Essential to the invitation of Our Lady of Guadalupe to come to her on pilgrimage is the evangelization and catechesis of which she is the Star. As we rejoice, today, to dedicate the Church, the heart of Our Lady’s Shrine, let us devote ourselves to making the sacrifices necessary for the development of the Marian Catechist Center and Retreat House, which, in a certain sense, we may call the head of Our Lady’s Shrine.
24. At the very beginning of the development of this shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Servant of God Father John Anthony Hardon of the Society of Jesus, master catechist and founder of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, visited and blessed the site upon which this church has been erected. He understood so deeply the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a teaching which leads to the encounter with Christ alive in the Church, above all, in the Holy Eucharist. The Servant of God chose Mary Immaculate, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to be the patron of his apostolate for the spiritual and doctrinal formation of catechists, and he wanted pilgrimage to this shrine to be the point of reference and the compass of direction for the Marian Catechists who are consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is hoped that, one day soon, the Archive and Guild of the Servant of God will have its home at the home of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Marian Catechetical Center. May the Servant of God unfailingly intercede for the essentially catechetical mission of this shrine.
25A. As we now dedicate the Church of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and its altar of sacrifice, let us recognize the great mystery of the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in our midst, offering Himself to God the Father for our eternal salvation. At the invitation of Our Lady and one with her Immaculate Heart, let us recognize our Lord Jesus Christ in our midst and let us lift up our hearts to His glorious pierced Heart. May our hearts, one with His Most Sacred Heart, become ever more a fountain of the “living water” of divine love for all our brothers and sisters (cf. Jn 7:38; and Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est, no. 42).
25B. Al dedicar ahora la Iglesia Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y su altar del sacrificio, reconozcamos el gran misterio de la presencia entre nosotros de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, ofreciéndose a Dios Padre por nuestra eterna salvación. Repondiendo a la invitación de Nuestra Señora y en unión con su Inmaculado Corazón, reconozcamos a Nuestro Señor Jesucristo entre nosotros y levantemos nuestros corazones a su glorioso Corazón traspasado. Que nuestros corazones, unidos a su Sacratísimo Corazón, llegan a ser cada día más una fuente del “agua viva” de amor divino para todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas (cf. Jn 7:38; y Papa Benedicto SVI, Carta Enciclica Deus caritas est, no. 42).
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.
Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, pray for us.