‘Faith is very much alive’ at Beamsville’s St. Helen Church

StHelenChurch

Grimsby Lincoln News. By Joanne McDonald
BEAMSVILLE — The Most Reverend Bishop Gerard Bergie lifted the bricks and mortar of the new St. Helen Church to the greater glory of God, Sunday, Dec. 6 celebrating the powerful and complex Rite of Consecration service that was filled with the profound symbolism of the ancient customs of the Church.

In a world bombarded and enveloped in darkness, “we need these signs to give us hope,” Bishop Bergie told the congregation. “Faith is very much alive here.”

It was a joy-filled and for many, once-in-a-lifetime experience as parishioners gathered to participate in the solemn Rite and share the first Mass. They overflowed the pews and called out in unison to welcome Bishop Bergie when he knocked at the main door of the church.

Prior to the beginning of Mass, the Honour Guard of the newly formed Knights of Columbus, St. Helen of the Cross Council 15999 marched outside in procession ahead of the clergy, circling the exterior while Bishop Bergie blessed the new building on Mountain Street in Beamsville.

Parishioners overflowed the pews during the service, which marked a milestone and new beginning in what has been a long journey to build the church. Joanne McDonald photo

Parishioners overflowed the pews during the service, which marked a milestone and new beginning in what has been a long journey to build the church.
Joanne McDonald photo

“Because the church is a visible building, it stands as a special sign of the pilgrim Church on earth and reflects the Church dwelling in heaven. When a church is erected as a building destined solely and permanently for assembling the people of God and for carrying out sacred functions, it is fitting that it be consecrated to God with a solemn Rite, in accordance with the ancient customs of the Church,” said Bishop Bergie.

Bishop Bergie carried the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the tabernacle and placed the ciborium on the altar and incensed the Blessed Sacrament. The ciborium was placed into the tabernacle, the door closed and the sanctuary lamp was lit.

St. Helen Church Consecration. Most Reverend Bishop Gerard Bergie anoints the altar with the oil of Chrism during the Consecration of the new St. Helen Church, Sunday in Beamsville. Joanne McDonald photo

St. Helen Church Consecration.
Most Reverend Bishop Gerard Bergie anoints the altar with the oil of Chrism during the Consecration of the new St. Helen Church, Sunday in Beamsville.
Joanne McDonald photo

For St. Helen parishioners, the Consecration marked a milestone and new beginning in what has been a long journey to build a church in Beamsville for the growing Roman Catholic community.

From its earliest roots as a mission church in 1938, a labour of love for many who helped drag stones from neighboring fields to build the solid little church in Vineland, those who serve have enriched the parish and carried forth the mission.

“I thank you for all your efforts and sacrifices to make this beautiful church a reality. I know that it has not been easy. Leaving a beautiful church that has served as your spiritual home for over 75 yeas was difficult,” Bishop Bergie said. “Here we see that the efforts of your dedicated pastor, Fr. Philip English, parish building committee and contractors and building and trades people have helped to create a beautiful church.”

The Mass was concelebrated with St. Helen Pastor, The Very Reverend Philip English and Rev. Edward Jankowski. Master of Ceremonies was The Very Reverend Donald Lizzotti and participating Deacons included The Reverend Mr. Fabio Bustamante and The Reverend Mr. Ed West.

Phil Martens, representing the contractors who constructed the church, presented Bishop Bergie with the architectural plans and the key to the church.

Students from St. Mark and St. Edward schools performed a special number of ‘This Little Light of Mine’. Joanne McDonald photo

Students from St. Mark and St. Edward schools performed a special number of ‘This Little Light of Mine’.
Joanne McDonald photo

Bishop Bergie blessed water to sprinkle the congregation as a sign of repentance and as a reminder of their baptism.

The relics of Canadian Martyrs, St. Jean de Brébeuf, St. Gabriel Lalemant and St. Charles Garnier were placed in the opening prepared on the granite altar table. Bishop Bergie poured the oil of Chrism on each of the five crosses on the altar and spread the oil over the whole surface of the table of the altar. He then proceeded to anoint the six copper crosses on the six pillars of the church.

Most Reverend Bishop Gerard Bergie anoints the altar with the oil of Chrism during the Consecration of the new St. Helen Church, Sunday in Beamsville.photo credits: Joanne McDonald
A brazier filled with incense was placed on the altar and the fragrant smoke rose in clouds over the sanctuary, signifying that the sacrifice of Christ and the prayers of the people rise to God and are pleasing and acceptable.

The altar was wiped, covered with new linen and the candles were lit, followed by the Presentation of Gifts by the Adams family and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The new St. Helen Church is located on Mountain Street in Beamsville, adjacent to St. Mark Catholic Elementary School. Joanne McDonald photo

The new St. Helen Church is located on Mountain Street in Beamsville, adjacent to St. Mark Catholic Elementary School.
Joanne McDonald photo

Fr. English thanked the building committee for its perseverance and thousands of hours working together, including Hank Zuzek (deceased), Ron Hendriks (deceased), Brian Beninger, Tony Commisso, John DeLaat, Tom Grubb, Fred Hendriks, Leanne Mosquite, Anthony P. van Engelen, Nancy Winslow, pastor emeritus, The Rev. Paul MacNeil, church comptroller Aggie Agnino, project management, Phil Martens and Tom Grubb, architect John Romanov and site supervisor Dave McNair.

Source: Niagara This Week, Dec. 10, 2015, http://www.niagarathisweek.com/community-story/6169166–faith-is-very-much-alive-at-beamsville-s-st-helen-church/