By Megan Erbacher
The Message assistant editor
On the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel dedicated the altar and blessed the new Mary Mother of God Chapel in the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center during Mass on Aug. 15.
During his homily, Bishop Siegel discussed pilgrimages. He said pilgrimages have been religious experiences, almost from the beginning of time, as powerful journeys of faith, like the recent diocesan pilgrims to Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day. Bishop Siegel said pilgrimages are meant to be a like a walking retreat, which reminds us that we are all pilgrims on this earth on our journey to heaven.
On the Assumption of Mary, Bishop Siegel said we celebrate the end of Mary’s earthly pilgrimage. He noted while the trajectory of Mary’s earthly pilgrimage was not free from struggles or pain, through it all, she remained steadfast in her faith and never ceased to grow in grace before God.
Bishop Siegel said it was with great joy to dedicate the altar and bless the chapel in honor of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, as we celebrate her assumption.
Father Pastory Hange Masunga, JCL, concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Siegel. Deacon Caleb Scherzinger and Deacon Phillip Rogier assisted. Diocesan Seminarians Nick Biever, Keith Hart, Aaron Herrenbruck and Tyler Underhill served the Mass. Matt Miller, director of the Office of Worship, served as Master of Ceremonies. Amy Miller served as cantor.
During the Introductory Rites, Bishop Siegel sprinkled holy water on the altar, the walls of the chapel and on those in attendance. Bishop Siegel said during his homily that just as we were washed clean from sin and blessed with holy water at our baptisms, so is the altar, the walls of the chapel and all present.
Jeremy Goebel, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and Karen Cain, diocesan controller, served as lectors. Gift bearers were Ashley Emery, diocesan director of human resources, and Todd Brock, executive director of the Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana.
Seminarian Deacon Caleb Scherzinger proclaimed the Gospel.
Following the profession of faith, all prayed the Litany of the Saints. Bishop Siegel then placed a first class relic of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (Thérèse of Lisieux) into the base of the altar, following the ancient tradition of building altars on the graves of martyrs and other saints.
Bishop Siegel then dedicated the altar and anointed the mensa (altar top) with sacred Chrism. Burning incense was placed on the altar, which was then dressed and prepared for the remainder of Mass.
During the altar dedication, Irene Moschner, director of philanthropy for the Catholic Foundation, and Gloria Berrara, Catholic Foundation administrative assistant, removed the sacred Chrism after Bishop Siegel’s blessing. The altar was dressed by Laura Keele, ecclesiastical notary and assistant in the Office of the Tribunal, Bertha Melendres, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, and Mary Gen Blittschau, director and judge in the Office of the Tribunal.
Candles were then placed on the altar by Eric Girten, director of the Office of Family and Life; Joe Paul Hayden, director of stewardship; and Nicholas Soellner, program manager for the Office of Catechesis. Joel Padgett, director of the Office of Catechesis, and Nancy Oskins, administrative assistant to Bishop Siegel, placed roses at the altar and the statues of Mary and Joseph.
It is around the altar, Bishop Siegel said during his homily, that we become most aware of who we are as Catholics.
Bishop Siegel asked Mary, the Holy Mother of God, to pray for all, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Following Mass, Bishop Siegel blessed the new Catholic Foundation Offices, and a meeting room and other new workspaces, adjacent to the Mary Mother of God Chapel.