How can I thank you enough for all your prayers, encouragement, cards, notes, get wells and other indications of your caring during my past and continuing infirmity. The number of these expressions has been overwhelming—even from the youth of the parishes. Each of you has provided me with courage and strength. Bless all of you. I can only respond to you through my own prayers, Masses and offerings of my suffering for you. There is certainly a spiritual bond in all of this which is a gift of God’s very goodness. It is a wonderful thing that I will never forget.
Fr. James Moster, O.F.M. Capuchin
During the process of redecorating the interior of St. Fidelis Basilica, someone came foreword with a question about what is the meaning of the twelve small wooden crosses and candle holders placed around the walls of the church. The answer is that our church is specially consecrated by the bishop.
Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies.
On May 25, 1986, Bishop George K. Fitzsimmons of the Salina Diocese, set aside for Divine Worship, by special act of consecration and dedication, the new marble altar and church building itself for perpetual and exclusive use for worship. The altar and walls were anointed with chrism in twelve places, which were marked by the crosses. That was also the 75th anniversary of the present building. Fr. Gilmary Tallman, O.F.M.Cap. was pastor.
Those twelve candles may be lit for special worship celebrations. We hope to use them for this Easter.
In 2014, St. Fidelis Church was also designated as a Basilica by Pope Francis. In the Brief of Erection the Pope declares:
“We, by our apostolic authority . . . erect St. Fidelis Church to the dignity of a basilica and bestow upon it all the privileges which belong to the lesser basilicas of this our own cherished city (Rome).”
Let us pray for the return of Non-Practicing Catholics...
At present, during the COVID pandemic, Catholic bishops have lifted the obligation of attending Sunday Mass. This is particularly for those who are most vulnerable because of age or underlying illnesses, who perhaps should not attend and who might feel guilty about it. Each of us must make our own decisions according to our conscience. We all know what the Church ordinarily directs about how to keep holy the Lord’s day. That has not changed. No one can dispense us from following our conscience. Some real circumstances do mitigate our responsibilities, which we know through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that involve Charity toward self and others. Where our personal relationship with God is concerned, we must stand before Him in all honesty, who lives deep in our soul. We know we are right by our peace of soul. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7
God desires for all His children to find the security of being right with Him, and that we have the resulting peace of soul. Some of His own, through inattentiveness or neglect or whatever reason, have gotten away from a personal relationship with Him through the sure ways of His Church. Therefore, it is pleasing to Our Lord that we all pray for the return of non-practicing Catholics and for the conversion of sinners. Bishop Vincke has shared a prayer for this and has encouraged priests to say it after the intercessions at Mass beginning in Lent. We will be doing so here. This is the prayer:
Prayer for the Return of Non-Practicing Catholics
O Good Shepherd, you never cease to seek out the lost, to call home the stray, to comfort the frightened, and to build up the wounded.
I ask you to bring them back to the practice of the Faith, and to remove all obstacles that prevent them from receiving your abundant mercy, which flows sacramentally through the heart of your holy Church.
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph, their Guardian Angels, their patron Saints, and the ever-prayerful St. Monica, may you pardon their sins and unshackle them from whatever hinders their freedom to come home.
For you, O Good Shepherd, have loved us to the end and offered yourself to the Father for the salvation of all. Amen!