Life on the Chrism Trail

Blessing and Groundbreaking, St. Mark Catholic Church

April 23, 2022
St. Mark Catholic Church
Denton, TX

Acts 4:8-12
Psalm 84
Luke 6:46-49

“The one who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.”

In Sacred Scripture, we see several instances where God chooses to reveal Himself and His plan for salvation through the dreams of human beings as visions of light amid the cloudy darkness of the night: Joseph and his coat of many colors, the call of Samuel, the prophet Daniel, and in our Gospel today, Saint  Joseph — the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus.

There is a difference between a dream and a fantasy. Dreams are anchored in our experience of reality in the present moment of daily life, but they are found deep in the human subconscious. Dreams are unclear but meaningful. Dreams require interpretation for understanding what is true about them amid their obscurity. Dreams, when brought to prayer and discernment, can enable us to envision the future through our desire to know and to love something lasting that is beyond our immediate pleasure or satisfaction. Authentic dreams gradually take shape and develop our lives through our decisive actions in response to the eternal call and promptings of the Holy Spirit. The benefit of attending to a dream, rather than becoming lost in fantasy, is that a dream can lead to aspiration, to the desire and necessary action to realize the dream. Aspiration without action is merely wishful thinking. Aspiration and a pattern of intelligent action leads to the virtue of magnanimity.

Fantasy is not based in our experience of reality. Fantasy restricts us from growing and developing as human beings. Fantasy leads us to see the world unrealistically only through the prism of our passions and compulsions. Fantasy numbs us to the sensitivity required for the compassion and empathy needed to flourish as human beings in family life and society. Our contemporary times, through our abuse of and over-reliance upon the technology of social media with its noisy absorption of human energy, malforms our imagination and especially that of our young people, in such a way that we are prone to suffer fantasy and to lose the human capacity to dream and to be attentive to any other voice, let alone the quiet voice of God.

Fantasy blunts our capacity to envision a future that would involve such basic human goods as worthwhile and meaningful employment, a loving and life-giving marriage, a vocation of public service for the common good, and an awareness that we are loved unconditionally by God who has prepared a place for each of us in His plans, perhaps including a priestly or religious vocation. Instead, imaginations are too frequently malformed and numbed by selfish fantasy that reduces the rich experience of human life with the horizon of eternal life to become a dark existence of bleakness shared with no one else except the void of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Dreams can reveal a purpose. Fantasies are conjured. The Lord chooses at times to invite us to follow Him to do His will in our dreams; He never speaks to us through our fantasies. As Pope Benedict XVI once observed, “To some extent, this urge to break out of the ordinary is present in every generation. Part of being young is desiring something beyond everyday life and a secure job, a yearning for something truly greater. Is this simply a fantasy that fades away as we become older? No! Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. Nothing else will ever be enough.” Such dreams., and not fantasies, have brought us here today.

We are here today because you, the faithful Catholics of this community, have persevered with their dreams founded on Christ that began in 1987, when under the pastoral leadership of Father Karl Schilken and the paternal blessing of Bishop Joseph Delaney, for establishing a mission of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church that could serve the sacramental and formational needs of the faithful of south Denton and surrounding areas. Throughout these past 35 years this parish has “dug deeply, laying the foundation for this parish in Christ, by listening to the words of Jesus and acting on them.”

We would be remiss if we did not call to mind in gratitude those who have come before us and some of the milestones for gratitude in this parish’s life as part of the Pilgrim Church which has Christ as Her foundation. Their efforts and care have laid the foundation in Christ as the cornerstone Whom the fallen world rejects, but Whom, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we embrace. On July 1, 1995, the establishment of Saint Mark as a parish with Marianist Father Eugene Sweeney as your first pastor. The pastoral care of Father Tim Thompson who helped to nurture the growth of your parish at its initial site on Teasley Lane until the growth in numbers of the parish required a new site for the spread of the Gospel.

Father George Pullambrayil, whose current pastoral leadership first led you as a parish to this new site mindful not to leave anyone behind. His pastoral and servant leadership brought you to dedicate your current but temporary worship space and administrative and formational buildings on December 7, 2014, when I spoke to you that the new life experienced by your parish, our parish, in a fresh manner “exemplifies the sense of mission that the Lord has entrusted to you and of being a people on the move towards the new and eternal Jerusalem.” Finally, Father George Pullambrayil’s pastoral leadership has accompanied you as a parish to this date, April 23, 2022, the Feast of Saint George, to break ground today, seeking God’s blessing and guidance for the construction of this beautiful church under the patronal protection of Saint Mark.

May the intercession of this Saint and Evangelist strengthen you to continue the evangelization of this part of the local church of Fort Worth through reverent and authentic worship, through personal and liturgical prayer, through study and formation in the Gospel as taught authentically by the Church’s Magisterium, and most urgently through good works for the poor, in the service of human dignity and the integrity of family life especially mindful of our young people. May this parish church serve as a worthy vessel for you and your children and grandchildren to discern and be formed in your baptismal vocations and in many vocations to Holy Matrimony, Religious Life, Diaconal Ministry, and Priestly Vocations.

The Christ-anchored dreams of your parish throughout its young history are far from visions of fantasy. Your dreams have given way to imagine a clear and hopeful plan. This plan now blossoms into a firm project that requires more resilience in the face of many practical and social challenges that might tempt us to reject Christ as the Cornerstone. I conclude by encouraging you as your bishop that during challenging times always be reminded of the words of Saint Peter from the Acts of the Apostles which we have proclaimed today: “There is no salvation through anyone else (but Christ), nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” In His name, we invoke His blessing on this holy endeavor of your parish.

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