I couldn't help but say these words during my sermon yesterday at St. Gabriel's in Monterey Park. I was there to celebrate the re-dedication of the sanctuary after a horrible fire last year destroyed the sacristy, the altar, organ, and did major damage to the chancel and nave.
Yesterday, the "new" church was absolutely gorgeous! The altar, which was made in China, is an amazing piece of art depicting the Chinese heritage of this congregation in its design and the use of Chinese Christian motifs in the carved wood (for example, the use of the lotus flower in lieu of a lily, the use of a cross that was used by missionaries to China hundreds of years ago). Beautiful!
We celebrated together the ending of the long "Lent" of being in 1/2 of the parish hall since the fire. I had the privilege of being with the people of St. Gabriel's the Sunday after the fire to talk with them and to let them know that the diocese was there for them. During a visitation in October, I was able to see the progress (slow, but there) in rebuilding the sanctuary. I was in contact with Fr. Peter Lo, the Rector of the parish, during the months of re-construction.
Yesterday, Easter joy abounded as the "new" space was blessed and re-claimed by the people. It is a new day for the people of St. Gabriel's -- a beautiful day. Look for an upcoming Just Action video on this great day of thanksgiving, love and life.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!