By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated Mass June 6 at St. Philip Parish in Posey County, during which he dedicated a new altar in St. Philip Church. The wooden mensa (altar top) had deteriorated to the point where a replacement was necessary, and the parish obtained a granite mensa for the altar.
St. Philip Pastor Father Ryan Hilderbrand concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Siegel. Deacons Charlie Koressel and Bob Martin assisted. Josh Reising served as lector, and Tim Fox led the parish choir in music for the Mass. Seminarians of the Diocese of Evansville and young-adult members of the Savio Group served the Mass.
Before the Liturgy of the Word, Bishop Siegel sprinkled holy water on the altar and moved through the nave sprinkling holy water on those in attendance.
During his homily, Bishop Siegel referred to the altar as the heart and soul of the church. He said that, from the altar, we become most aware of who we are as Catholics. He noted that he would join the faithful in praying the Litany of the Saints before blessing and dedicating the altar, adding that the litany would call the saints to fill St. Philip Church with their presence - including all of those in the parish family who had gone before us.
Bishop Siegel noted that Father Ryan celebrated the 14th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on June 6. He said it was providential that the parish family would gather that evening for this Mass.
He reminded those in attendance that they have a powerful patron in St. Philip the Apostle. He urged them to turn to our Patroness, Mary the Mother of God, and St. Philip for intercession. He said that the parish family will continue to reveal the power and presence of God by their witness - at St. Philip and everywhere.
Following the profession of faith, all prayed the Litany of the Saints. Bishop Siegel then dedicated the altar and anointed it with Sacred Chrism. Burning incense was placed on the altar, which was then dressed and prepared for the remainder of Mass.