MONROE — Father Benjamin Roberts, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Monroe welcomed Father Matthew Kauth of St. Joseph College Seminary and some of our college seminarians at Masses Feb. 11 and 12 to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
A new mural created by local artist Lisa Autry was shared with the parish to honor the parish's 75th anniversary year. It mirrors the Agnus Dei stained glass window in the original Our Lady of Lourdes Church, now called the Chapel, which was built in 1945.
Autry, a convert to Catholicism and parishioner at St. James Church in Concord, created the new painted mural above the tabernacle in the sanctuary of the new church. She has also painted the interior of many of our parishes around the diocese. Father Roberts has contracted her to paint other decorative finishes at Our Lady of Lourdes in the future.
The parish is celebrating 75 years in May.
Bishop Peter Jugis was pastor of the parish when he received the call from Rome in 2003 to become the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte.
— Catholic News Herald. Photos by SueAnn Howell
Read Father Roberts full homily:
Listen to the homily here.
“I really like anniversaries. Not just birthdays or wedding or ordination anniversaries, but baptismal dates and First Communion and Confirmation. I like anniversaries of meeting people, of starting school, of finishing school, of big games and big days. I even like to remember, as we bring it to prayer, the anniversary of a last meeting or a last conversation before a friendship or a family relationship was changed, though not ended, when a dear one was called to the house of the Father. There are all kinds of anniversaries to celebrate.
One hundred and fifty-nine years ago today, a little girl named Bernadette gathered wood for the fire in the stone grotto next to the river in the little village of Lourdes in France. She was about her mother’s business and she met the Mother of God. No storm or lightening, no burning bush, no carved tablets of stone, the little Bernadette saw only the simple smile of the beautiful lady dressed in white with a sash of blue whose fingers held a rosary in prayer. It was just Bernadette and the Beautiful Lady that day. Three weeks later, there would be more than twenty thousand people gazing at the grotto hoping to see Our Lady. There was a spring of water now which brought the healing of heaven to the people of earth. Cures upon cures, both physical and spiritual, accompanied the daily prayers of the pilgrims. Where once there had been a stone grotto where the city left its trash, now there is a fountain of grace and glory flowing with the waters of healing and hope.
Seventy-five years ago this May, Our Lady took possession of another piece of land. She claimed another space. It wasn’t next to a poor village in France, and she didn’t make a personal appearance. Seventy-five years ago this May, the Bishop of Raleigh designated this place, near the military base in a very small city, as the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady seems to like those small and unexpected places. We think of the manger at Bethlehem, the home at Nazareth, the wedding at Cana, and the Upper Room praying with the apostles.
At Lourdes in France, Our Lady asked that people come in prayerful procession. She asked them to pray for sinners. She invited them to bring the sick and the suffering. She wanted them to be healed by the waters that flow from the fountain of grace and glory. She wanted that in France, and she wants it in Monroe. She invites us to join in prayerful procession each week to share in the worship of Her Son. Our Lady invites us, we who are sick and suffering with the poisons that world inflicts, to come and be comforted by the loving smile of the Loving Lady. She wants to bring us, we who know our need for mercy, to the wedding feast of the Lamb of the God who takes away the sins of the world. She wants to bring us, the children of God who gather in her house, to the waters of the fountain of grace and glory.
But then, my dear brothers and sisters, but then she wants the fountain to overflow. Like the waters that flowed through and from the Temple, Our Lady sends us as streams of grace flowing from the fountain of grace and glory in the city of the Living God.
Grace and glory flow from here to bring grace and glory to our community. When the young student is doing her homework this week and praying her prayers in preparation for First Holy Communion in May, the waters are flowing from the fountain of grace and glory. When one of our teenagers rejects an invitation to use drugs this week, then the waters are flowing from the fountain of grace and glory. When mothers are praying for patience on Tuesday and fathers are praying for wisdom on Thursday, the waters are flowing from the fountain of grace and glory. And when the children of God of every age gather to join in prayer, in worship and in the feast when heaven joins to this community, the waters are flowing from the fountain of grace and glory.
Fourteen years ago this July, God called a Bishop from this place. Now day after day, and week after week, and year after year, God calls his saints from this community. God calls you and me. Our Lady calls you and me. The Church calls you and me. Here and now, we are called to the feast of grace and glory. Amen."