St. Mark parishioners gather at new location Dec. 7 as bishop blesses, dedicates new altar

By Jacqueline Burkepile

Correspondent

Photos by Juan Guajardo

December 17, 2014

A view of the interior of the new St. Mark Church on Crawford Road in Denton is seen on Dec.7.

“Rejoice in the Lord! That doesn’t seem very hard for us to do today,” said Bishop Michael Olson at St. Mark Church’s new Denton location during the Rite of Blessing and Dedication of the new church building’s altar Sunday, Dec. 7.

The Dedication and Rite of Blessing was held in St. Mark’s new multi-purpose parish activity center, which totals 20,800 square feet and sits on 26.7 acres of land. The Spanish mission-style building includes a church for Mass, a chapel, a full-service kitchen, several office and meeting spaces, and a cry room. Other features of the main sanctuary include an altar made and donated by parishioners Ken and Jewell Lively, and a large hand-carved and painted crucifix from Italy.

With approximately 1,200 parishioners in attendance, members of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard led the opening procession while St. Mark’s choir and instrumentalists led “In This House” as the opening hymn. After the opening prayer, Bishop Olson then walked throughout the building blessing and sprinkling the congregation with holy water.

Pastor Father Baby George thanks his parishioners after the liturgy.

Bishop Olson presided with St. Mark Pastor Father Baby George concelebrating, along with Very Rev. Timothy Thompson, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Denton and former pastor of St. Mark, diocesan Vicar General Very Rev. Karl Schilken, diocesan Chancellor Very Rev. Daniel Kelley, and Father Jonathan McElhone, TOR, from Good Shepherd Parish in Colleyville. Several deacons also assisted, including Deacons Jim Galbraith and Leroy Berens of St. Mark, Deacon Joe Standridge of St. Philip the Apostle Church in Lewisville, and diocesan Director of Liturgy and Worship Deacon Don Warner.

During his homily, Bishop Olson commended St. Mark parishioners and previous pastors for their hard work, dedication, and patience throughout the tedious 12-year process. (St. Mark Parish began as a mission of Immaculate Conception in 1990, but officially became a separate parish in 1995. Planning for a new facility began in 2002.)

“Today, the life of your parish — our parish — experienced its life in a new and fresh manner — the blessing and dedication of this altar, this building, and this new parish site.” said Bishop Olson. “This should exemplify the sense of mission that the Lord has entrusted to you and of being a people on the move toward the new and eternal Jerusalem.”

The bishop added that the parish site’s dedication during the Advent season is noteworthy because Advent signifies the two comings of Christ. He said we first prepare for Christ’s second coming, and we later celebrate his first coming at Christmas. Bishop Olson said he is very grateful for the parish’s dedication to building the life of the local Church.

Deacon Jim Galbraith lights the candle at the altar of the new church.

“Christ is coming again and is proclaimed in the humbly prophetic manner of John the Baptist by this community through its active prayer life, retreat ministry, outreach, and concern for the poor, concern for the formation of its youth, and for its overall sense of discipleship manifested through vocations to married life and to priestly, diaconal, and religious life,” said Bishop Olson.

Following his homily, Bishop Olson anointed the Church’s new altar with chrism oil while the choir joyfully sang “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” or “Come Now, Holy Spirit.” He then prayed over the altar saying, “Bless this altar,” and “make this altar a sign of Christ.” After the anointing, Bishop Olson placed incense on the altar, allowing it to burn for a few minutes. An assisting deacon then incensed the congregation while the choir led them in singing “From the Hand of the Angel.”

Mass concluded with closing remarks by St. Mark Pastor Father Baby George. Fr. George expressed his gratitude to all those involved with the dedication Mass, as well those who were a part of the development process of the new parish location.

Bishop Olson then added final remarks and thanked Fr. George for his leadership and kindness within the St. Mark community. He encouraged the congregation to continue in their discipleship as a parish.

“The Lord gathers us together and He makes us one through the gift of his Eucharist,” said Bishop Olson. “Please continue to grow in discipleship as you encourage it in the married life, in the diaconal ministry, and also in a very special way, in the vocation to religious life and the priesthood.”

Following Mass, attendees were invited for refreshments in the 11,700-square-foot religious education

Bishop Olson sprinkles the church and parishioners with Holy Water.

building next door to the parish activity center. Also reflecting a Spanish mission-style construction, this building consists of 15 offices and a nursery. The parish will use it for pastoral and liturgical needs, administration, religious education, and outreach.

Many parishioners at the reception expressed their excitement and anticipation for the parish’s journey ahead. St. Mark building committee members and parishioners Leo Wehkamp and Michael Nieswiadomy said they do not know exactly when groundbreaking will begin for the new, more traditional Spanish-Romanesque style church, but they hope it will be within the next five to seven years after the parish activity center and religious education buildings are completely paid for.

Bret Curran, grand knight of St. Mark’s Knights of Columbus Council 12553, said he and his wife have been parishioners since 1998. His son Kevin will be the first parishioner to marry at the new location.

“I love the new facility,” said Curran. “It’s fantastic to go from 10 acres and being crowded to expanding to almost 30 acres and having a lot of room for growth.”

Parishioner Leslie Hendryx has attended St. Mark with her family since 1996. She organizes funeral meals and helped facilitate the dedication’s reception. She is also very pleased with the parish’s new facilities.

Members of the local Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus process into the new church.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and I’m very, very excited,” said Hendryx. “I’m sad about leaving the other place because a lot happened there, but very excited about what’s to come for us here.”

Shirley Royster, the vice regent for St. Mark’s Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Salve Regina, said she also appreciates the new facility and considers it a blessing.

“It’s wonderful. We needed the space. We have lots of land here,” said Royster. “We’re looking forward to the time when we can build the church itself, but the new Parish Activity Center/Multi-purpose center is beautiful, and we’re looking forward to being here for many, many years.”

St. Mark Catholic Church is located at 6500 Crawford Road in Denton. It is visible from I-35W and intersects with John Paine Road. For more information about St. Mark, visit www.stmarkdenton.org.

“Rejoice in the Lord! That doesn’t seem very hard for us to do today,” said Bishop Michael Olson at St. Mark Church’s new Denton location during the Rite of Blessing and Dedication of the new church building’s altar Sunday, Dec. 7. The Dedication and Rite of Blessing was held in St. Mark’s new multi-purpose parish activity center, which totals 20,800 square feet and sits on 26.7 acres of land. The Spanish mission-style building includes a church for Mass, a chapel, a full-service kitchen, several office and meeting spaces, and a cry room. Other features of the main sanctuary include an altar made and donated by parishioners Ken and Jewell Lively, and a large hand-carved and painted crucifix from Italy.

Published (until 1/6/2115)
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