New Marian shrine shines light on Burkburnett’s Catholic Community
BURKBURNETT — Blessed with grit, a close-knit community, and strong leadership, the parishioners of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Burkburnett will consecrate their Marian shrine on August 15 after working together for two years to complete a central focus on outdoor fellowship as well as a sanctuary for private prayer.
Upon his arrival at St. Jude Thaddeus in 2021, Father Joseph Moreno fondly recalls how members of the congregation didn’t wait long before approaching him, a freshly ordained priest, with an impassioned plea to build a Marian grotto. Fortunately, it took even less time for Fr. Moreno to happily acquiesce.
“My philosophy is that when parishioners ask for something, my default answer is yes as long as there isn’t a theological, philosophical, practical, or financial reason not to,” said the priest, who also serves as pastor for St. Paul Parish in Electra and Christ the King Parish in Iowa Park.
However, despite the parishioners’ fervent wish for a grotto, they eventually had to admit, “We’re in a flat area, there’s no hills [to build into],” remarked Fr. Moreno. “That’s when we started looking into a Marian shrine.”
The parishioners’ perseverance to complete the project was evident throughout the “various stages of construction” and was the reason for its continuous momentum and ultimate success, Fr. Moreno said.
One parishioner found a brick artisan who custom made the shrine; another selflessly donated funds for the purchase of the Italian marble statue of Mary, the last available in the U.S. at the time; and one more congregant, with an ardent passion for gardening, volunteered to cover the cost of landscaping. Once they “finally got the statute into its shrine,” parish families then contributed to the brick courtyard that leads up to the shrine, with many members placing in each paver by hand.
“Everything was homegrown; that was kind of the beauty of it,” Fr. Moreno said.
He hopes that the shrine, which sits in clear view of the road, will be a clear sign to the city of Burkburnett that this church is “an unashamedly, unapologetically Catholic parish.”