LAYTON — Bishop Oscar. A. Solis joined the parish community to celebrate a Mass Sept. 6 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the dedication of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
Concelebrants of the Mass were Father Clarence Sandoval, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish; Fr. Charles Cummins, administrator of the Weber State University Newman Center; and Fr. Joshua Santos, parochial vicar of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Deacon of the Word was Deacon Manuel Trujillo; Deacon of the Eucharist was Deacon Bernardo Villar. Deacon John Kranz was Master of Ceremonies.
In his introductory remarks, Bishop Solis, speaking in both Spanish and English, said, “It is easy to imagine Paulist Fr. James McLean, the first pastor of this parish in 1948, looking down at us and smiling at what has been accomplished in this valley.”
In his homily, Bishop Solis said he was thankful to be part of “this milestone of this parish church. It speaks of so many significant things that are related to our faith and relationship with God and with one another. The 25th anniversary of a church is a blessing – it’s a blessing not only for this parish community but it is a blessing for the local Church of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.”
The anniversary is a message from God that “we are blessed,” the bishop said. “We are blessed with the abiding presence of God and his fidelity to his promise that he would be with us until the end of time.”
Referring to the first reading from the Book of Nehemiah, Bishop Solis said that the prophet set the tone for how to celebrate the presence of God in a holy place, and that was to “rejoice, rejoice and be glad because God has blessed us with this day that is holy.”
The prophet also calls for eating and drinking in celebration, “so today we are going to forget our diet,” the bishop said, evoking laughter from the congregation.
The celebration was “to show that we recognize the presence of God in our midst, rejoicing with gladness, because that is a sign of a true child of God, a person of joy and gladness, manifesting that our joy and gladness is strengthened by the recognition and conviction that God loves us, that God is with us forever,” he continued.
In addition to being a celebration, the anniversary was an occasion for grateful remembrance for the people who “put their blood, sweat and tears and all the resources available to build the beautiful church for this parish community,” Bishop Solis said.
The church building is a place not only to worship but also to seek the blessings of God “so that we ourselves may become holy” and continue to serve as missionary disciples of Christ and manifest God’s love in the world, the bishop said.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr. Sandoval, also speaking in English and Spanish, reflected on the stories that the church’s walls could tell if they could talk. The story began 25 years ago when the late Msgr. Victor Bonnell gathered the parish community to build the church. Since that time, the parish has celebrated 1,720 baptisms, 2,271 First Communions, 2,930 Confirmations, 527 weddings and 663 funerals In addition, the RCIA program has seen 307 participants, he said.
“Many times I will come into this church and I will see people praying, but some people come in here to cry, to ask for help. … They come here. They know this is a sacred place, a holy place where they are able to share their feelings,” he said.
The anniversary celebration will continue with a dinner on Saturday, Sept. 28 in the parish social hall, 210 S. Chapel St., Layton. The cost is $50 per person. Seating is limited; for information or tickets, call 801-544-4269.