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THE 108th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEDICATION OF OUR PARISH CHURCH

On November 24th, 1910, Thanksgiving Day, the new church of St. Mary’s, Newton/ Needham, Massachusetts was dedicated as Mary Immaculate of Lourdes. Since the day of the Dedication was on Thanksgiving, we celebrate the anniversary Mass each year at the 9 AM Parish Mass on Thanksgiving Day.

The Anniversary Mass of Dedication is one of the most important liturgical feast’s of parish life. Every parish celebrates two special feast days of its own each year: its titular feast and its dedication feast. For us at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes our titular feast is February 11th, the Feast of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes, and our dedication feast is Thanksgiving Day.

In Volume V of his guide to the liturgy The Church’s Year of Grace Dr. Pius Parsch outlines the significance of a church’s dedication for the life of faith:

  • The house of God, the parish church, is dear to Christians for many reasons: 
  • It is the house of prayer and the place of sacrifice for the whole congregation.  
  • Here the Triune God has set up His tent of grace and blessing. The altar signifies Christ and is to be considered the holiest spot in the structure. During the Sacrifice of Mass Christ personally enters this house and through His visitation our “salvation is again effected.” 
  • The parish church is the visible symbol of God’s kingdom upon earth. Here Mother Church holds her official services; here her heart beats fastest for her Bridegroom Christ, as also for her children. The Church of Christ stands upon the foundation stones of the Twelve Apostles...The dignity and beauty of the material edifice should be a sign of the excellence and supreme importance of holy Mother Church. 
  • Here the Triune God has set up His tent of grace and blessing. The altar signifies Christ and is to be considered the holiest spot in the structure. During the Sacrifice of Mass Christ personally enters this house and through His visitation our “salvation is again effected.” 
  • Lastly, the parish church symbolizes the individual Christian. This comparison was frequently used by the early Church Fathers to teach the sanctity of Christian life: ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you?’ Such symbolism is given beautiful expression in the dedication ceremonies of a church, for these rites in a very tangible way are modeled after the liturgy of Baptism...and Confirmation...Here we find the reason for the imposition of a name and the celebration of the saint’s day (titular [feast]); for if individual Christians celebrate their patronal feast, why not the parish body?  

(Fr. Higgins)

 

 

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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