Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Novice Directress, Sister Kathleen Murphy, shares on recent blessing of the Community’s Initial Formation space as the Portiuncula.
On the Feast of the Portiuncula the gentle song of bells rung and the quiet glow of candlelight accompanied a procession opening the blessing of our new formation space.
15 Sisters who made their Novitiate in the “Ave-across-the-bridge” served as candle bearers to accompany the Blessed Sacrament from the Ave chapel to the new chapel. Sister Mary Jane Schwartz, novice, led the group carrying the sanctuary light, Sister Theresa Feldkamp, Formation Director, followed ringing the bells and Sister Natalie bore the Monstrance behind the line of candle bearers which stretched from the Ave to the foot of the stairs leading to St. Al’s.
Chaplain Franciscan Friar of the Assumption Province Fr. Jerry Prusakowski and many Sisters awaited the procession in St. Al’s homeroom and sleeping area. After a song rejoicing in the holiness of this place, Fr. Jerry blessed the chapel space, the crucifix, and the tabernacle. He then raised the monstrance in blessing over all present and finally placed the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. The prayers of blessing were the same ones used in 1975 by Norbertine Father Julian Resch when he blessed the then new Ave chapel.
All listened to a reading telling about the history of the Portiuncula. Father then solemnly proclaimed, “In remembrance of this holy and beloved place in the Franciscan tradition, let this little sanctuary be named and known as the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels.”
Then, all moved into St. Al’s Homeroom where Father blessed this space saying, “In the Portiuncula Francis of Assisi began to understand more about the truth of his life, his service of God and how both of those connect with service to other people. So, in the spirit of that holy place treasured throughout the history of the Franciscan Order, let this space dedicated to the formation in holiness of those who dwell here be dedicated to, and known as, The Portiuncula. The blessing concluded with the joyous singing of the Celtic Alleluia.
The group of over 50 sisters continued to celebrate by visiting and sharing punch and snack mix. There was much reminiscing about the days of Postulancy and Novitiate in each of our lives. Though the names of the Ave and St. Al’s will no longer be used we pray that the new names of The Portiuncula and the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels will identify places of growth in Franciscan holiness, joy and simplicity. May this new step in our formation program be blessed by the Sisters who have gone before us and supported in prayer by each of us today.
Blessing of the Chapel
Let us pray.
We beseech you, Lord, inspire and guide our works in their beginning, and accompany them into fruition, that our every prayer and action may begin with You and through You be accomplished. This we ask through Christ our Lord.
Father sprinkles the chapel in silence.
Let us pray.
Lord God, whom the heavens and the earth cannot contain, but who condescends to have dwelling on earth where your name can be continually invoked, we ask you in your kindness to visit this chapel and purge it of all that is not worthy of you by the infusion of your grace. As you caused the vow of David to be fulfilled in the work of Solomon, grant us in this work, the realization of our desires, and banish all wickedness from this place. This we ask through Christ our Lord.
Blessing of the Crucifix
Let us pray.
Holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, bless + this crucifix that it may be a saving help to all people. Let it be a bulwark of faith, an encouragement to good works, the redemption of souls; and may it be consolation, protection and a shield against the persistence of sinfulness. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Blessing of the Tabernacle
Let us pray for God’s blessing on this tabernacle. Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly entreat you to dedicate with your blessing + this tabernacle made to contain the Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever.
The tabernacle is sprinkled with holy water.
Let us pray.
Lord God, you have dedicated this chapel to the glory of your name. Continue to pour out your grace on this house of prayer so that all who invoke Your help may find in this place your gracious assistance. This we ask through Christ our Lord.
Father blesses all with the monstrance and then places it in the tabernacle.