Sanctuary, spiritual renewal celebrated at St. Joseph Church in Brimfield

Incense rises from the newly dedicated altar of sacrifice at St. Joseph Church in Brimfield during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Louis Tylka on Sept. 17. The new marble altar is part of a $120,000 sanctuary renovation project. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

BRIMFIELD — A renewal of the sanctuary at St. Joseph Church here is already leading to a deeper spiritual renewal at the parish.

The completion of external changes was celebrated Saturday evening during a Solemn Mass for the Dedication of an Altar with Bishop Louis Tylka presiding.

Bishop Tylka anoints the new altar with sacred Chrism, which he then spread with his hand during the dedication ritual. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“Every time we gather around the altar the gateway to heaven is opened and the awesome reality is our Lord and Savior is present to us,” said Bishop Tylka, moments before anointing the church’s new marble altar of sacrifice with sacred Chrism and blessing it with incense. “Jesus’ very body and blood is given to nourish us. How awesome is that!

“But it can’t end here,” continued the bishop, who had just returned from two weeks in Rome. (See story, page one.) “Our reception and our encounter with our savior Jesus Christ has to compel us to go out into the world, to tell others what we have experienced and what we have received so they can see that God’s desire is to be in communion with them as well.”


In remarks before the start of Mass, Father John Verrier, pastor, described the changes that have taken place during the $120,000 project, including:

  • the new altar of sacrifice, crafted from marble that includes a top slab donated by the Diocese of Peoria from a warehouse and now including a relic of St. Andre Bessette. The previous altar, said Father Verrier, was plywood.
  • an ambo with matching marble
  • the removal of carpeting in the sanctuary and installation of marble floor tiling
  • the disassembling and refinishing of a tabernacle original to the church and also sanctuary lamps
  • new lighting, including in the choir loft and a devotional grotto
  • the restoration of devotional railings that had been in the church basement for many years that now frame side niches for statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, and
  • the cleaning and touch-up of the Stations of the Cross, chairs for altar servers that came from a church in New York, and the reupholstering of the celebrant’s chair.

Still to come are a pair of adoring angels that will be on either side of a large painting of the Crucifixion above the sanctuary’s altar of repose.

Father Verrier thanked all involved in the project, including Rich Murray Marble Works and Granite in Bartonville which crafted and installed the altar. And he left no doubt regarding the purpose of the sanctuary renewal.

Father John Verrier, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Brimfield, points upward as he tells the assembly the sanctuary renewal project was done “for the honor and glory of God.” (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“It is all for the honor and glory of God,” he said, pointing heavenward. “This is why we do all things.”

Father Verrier said he hopes the sanctuary renewal “will be the occasion of welcoming many back to the church, to welcome others into the church for the very first time, and to have a spirit of making new disciples.

“May this sanctuary renewal be the outward manifestation of an inward renewal of hearts and minds everywhere in our parish so that the virtues of faith, hope and charity will grow in the sanctuary of our hearts and spur us on to an ongoing conversion as missionary disciples.”

At the end of Mass, Deacon Ray Burton presented Bishop Tylka with a “spiritual bouquet” of prayers and works that the parish had offered on his behalf in the past month, including 696 Our Fathers, 602 Hail Marys, 33 novenas, 169 Masses, 117 acts of service, and more.

“I could not do what God has asked me to do to live as a bishop if I did not know people are praying for me,” said Bishop Tylka in thanking the parish for their support and Father Verrier for his leadership of the renewal project. “Please know you are always in my heart and in my daily prayers as well.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: More images from the Mass will be posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.

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