National shrine dedicated in St Vincent

Catholic News, Trinidad, Sunday January 24, 2015 

Fr Boniface Ogonna (left) and an altar server unveil the church’s sign watched by Bishop Jason Gordon and faithful.

It was a historic moment for the Diocese of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church in Argyle was dedicated and opened by Bishop Jason Gordon on Jan 16.

The feast of the island’s patron, St Vincent, was anticipated and Bishop Gordon and nearly all the clergy in the diocese were present, as well as a large crowd of the faithful.

The afternoon had a nostalgic flavour, as the original “sacred shrine space” was in the path of the land required by the Government, for the building of the yet unfinished new international airport. An exchange was made and the new site now commands a hilltop view.

The liturgy was deep and meaningful, resonating with great symbolism and lively music. We were encouraged by the Bishop to relax, be at peace and enter fully into the Rite of Dedication.

Bishop Jason Gordon pours holy oil on the altar for the anointing.

Memorable moments were the handing over of the keys to the building to Bishop Gordon by project coordinator Michael Davy; the blessing of the faithful; the depositing of church relics in the altar, including one of St Vincent; the anointing and incensing of the altar and walls, and the lighting of the altar and the church.
At all these moments, appropriate hymns were sung and the words of the prayers were also uplifting: “May this building, which we dedicate to Your name, be a house of salvation and grace where Christians gathered together may worship You in spirit and truth and grow together in love.”
At the end of the liturgy, a round of applause greeted Frs Peter Okonkwo and Boniface Ogonna, our two Nigerian missionaries, the custodians of the Shrine, as they officially received the keys from Bishop Gordon.

Vicar General Msgr Michael Stewart officially thanked several who had contributed to the life of the Shrine over the years. All left singing to the Lord a new song, and being lightly sprinkled with soft rain. – Sr Clare Harris SJC