THE SOLEMNITY OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL
JUNE 30, 2020
Our ancestral parish, what we sometimes refer to as “Old” St. Peter was closed and torn down in 1969. A year later - fifty (50) years ago - Bishop Clarence Elwell reformed St. Peter Catholic Church from its urban incarnation to this suburban parish. “Urban flight” is the term everyone used to explain population shifts that were happening all over the country. The Church springs eternal in every place where Christian people are.
The Lord, Jesus Christ, said to Simon bar Jonah – who is always listed as the first Pope – “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” Fifty (50) years ago St. Peter Catholic Church was built on these fields, built – not on sand – but on the Rock of Rome. Two generations before us, called this site home. Worshipped here. Married here. Died here. This is holy ground, a sacred place. Our predecessors built our church – not only the temple building, but themselves into a church, into a People of God. They poured tremendous love; and blood, sweat and tears; time, talent, and treasure into preparing this homestead for us, for you and for your descendants.
We hold this church, we hold this parish, we hold this home, in trust for future generations of St. Peter parishioners. This place is yours now, but only for a little while longer. You will leave it to your parish descendants. You must leave it in better shape than it was when it was left to you. Parents want their children’s lives to be better than their own had been; and you should want your spiritual children to have a better parish, be a better church, than it is for you.
This parish once became so large and so vibrant that two new parishes were spun out of it: St. Joan of Arc and St. Brigid of Kildare. Both those parishes now dwarf ours, but they owe their existence to the Faithful here.
As good as St. Peter Parish is – and it is terrific – there is much that needs improved, corrected, renovated, and changed. Have the spirit of new founders. Put yourselves in the minds and the hearts of our spiritual grandparents who made this and made themselves church from scratch, from the bedrock of Rome, to last forever.
From this evening forward, commit yourselves afresh to St. Peter Parish. Pour your hearts and souls; expend your blood, sweat, and tears; give in greater quantities: your time, talents, and treasures; bestow your love on your homestead here.
Cherish deeply this Catholic place.