Bishop dedicates expanded San Isidro Mission

Friday, Oct. 03, 2008
Bishop dedicates expanded San Isidro Mission + Enlarge
The Most Reverend John C. Wester says the Eucharistic Prayer as Deacon Ricardo Arias blesses the concelebrants with incense during the dedication Mass for San Isidro Mission Center in Elberta September 28. IC photo by Barbara S. Lee

ELBERTA — Every seat was filled, including extra chairs brought in, and people stood around the walls and in the back hallway when the Most Reverent Bishop John C. Wester arrived in Elberta Sept. 28 to dedicate the newly expanded San Isidro Mission Center.

The need for the expansion of the Central Utah mission is evidence of the growing population in the area, especially of Hispanic Catholics.

Bishop Wester celebrated the Mass entirely in Spanish. The Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City; Father Joseph M. Mayo, pastor of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, Father David Bittmenn, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Provo, which serves San Isidro Mission, and Father José Rausseo, parochial vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

The new additions to the mission were designed by Architect John Sparano of Sparano and Mooney Architects. The general contractor was Tom Stevens of Tom Stevens Contracting, and the project was overseen for the diocese by Michael Lee.

"God’s ways are not our ways," said the bishop in his homily, paraphrasing the day’s first reading. "We are created with a longing for God and a determination of faith. We must continually learn the ways of God. We do this through prayer, the sacraments, and by participating in the living Church with humility and forgiveness."

The bishop said there was one poignant example of humility given to us by Christ himself in the Gospel of the day:

"(Jesus), though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2: 1-11)

We, on the other hand, "hold on to grudges, get involved in wars, hate crimes, and revenge. There are attacks on the city streets by gangs trying to save face. All of these lead to violence and death.

"But Christ preached forgiveness. In a parable in the Gospel of Matthew, a person interested in following Jesus repented and led a new life.

"What is the essence of forgiveness?" the bishop asked. "It is going out of our selfish ways and taking the way of God as Jesus did when went out of himself and took the form of a slave."

He said the point is summed up by the word mission. "The Church is called to a mission: we gather to build ourselves up as the Body of Christ; always for service, outreach, and evangelization of others; this new mission today, by its very name underscores the importance of mission to all of us. The mission is for our community, but we are a community called to go forth and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. We empty ourselves in the service of others. This emptying of ourselves takes on many forms: we live our faith in our daily life; we give specific service as needed; we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and we are ready to put others first in the name of God.

Bishop Wester said the Eucharist is the principal way in which we serve the community - the parish community and the community at large. "We are sent forth from every Eucharistic celebration to serve our missions on behalf of others.

"Like the immigrant lady waiting for the green light to cross the street, this is our green light. It is time to go now. It is time to serve."

The bishop praised the people of San Isidro Mission for their patience in waiting for the new additions to be completed.

Msgr. Fitzgerald expressed thanks to the Catholic Church Extension Society and the Catholic Home Missions for their continued support of the mission outreach of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

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