Coming Home to his Sacred Heart

By Ginny Revel

From the Prayer of Dedication (on the occasion of the consecration of the new Sacred Heart Church in Fruita):

“Father in Heaven…
For today we come before you, to dedicate to your lasting service this House of prayer, this temple of worship, this home in which we are nourished by your word and your sacraments.”

SH Dedication 2Joy and excitement were tangible at the dedication of the new Sacred Heart Church in Fruita, on the sunlit afternoon of Saturday, September 17, 2016.  There was also a strong sense of community and homecoming, evident in the comments of the parishioners as they described their emotions about this event. 

Lance Stewart, the building project’s landscape coordinator, greeted the attendees as they arrived for the Dedication Mass.  He shared his thoughts on the celebration and the impact of this years-long journey by remarking:  “The most rewarding element for me is all the fabulous friendships I have made with other Catholics, and the community we have forged together.  I will never forget this experience.”

The idea of Church as “home” was another golden thread woven throughout the readings of the Mass.  It was also highlighted in Bishop Stephen Berg’s homily and in reflections by two of Sacred Heart’s pastors, Fr. Chrysogonus Nwele (2015 – present) and Fr. Michael N. Smith, S.J., (2001 – 2015).

The Church, as represented in both the physical structure and in the mystical Body of Christ, is the dwelling place of God on earth.  This was indicated in the second reading at Mass from 1Corinthians 3-9c-11, 16-17: “…You are God’s building…Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Bishop Berg explained that Jesus is calling all, as his brothers and sisters, into a holy communion with him, in his Sacred Heart.  He is building us into his family and into his Church.  Jesus is inviting all peoples to remember who they are and who they belong to, and to return home. 

This plea was echoed in Fr. Chrysogonus’ written remarks welcoming everyone to this beautiful, new Sacred Heart Church.  He wrote:  “Therefore,…peopleSH Dedication 1 of God, come home and worship with your family of faith.  Everything is ready.  Do not be the absent one.” 

And Fr. Mike Smith, S.J., when asked about temporarily forsaking his retirement to attend the dedication of the new church that was for many years the dream and vision of his pastorate, said simply, “Yes, I’m coming home!”

In addition to the exquisite Sacred Heart Church, the completed building includes offices, classrooms and a parish hall.  According to Fr. Chrysogonus, the entire project was the result of a community effort and the generosity of innumerable people.  It would not have been accomplished without God’s grace and the people’s intention to make it happen. 

As Fr. Chrysogonus stated, “The People of God built this Sacred Heart Church, giving glory to God and as a blessing to his people.”   


For more coverage by Ginny Revel on the the dedication of Sacred Heart, read December's print issue of Today's Catholic, due in homes on or around December 16.