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St. Anne’s Chapel Blessed by Bishop after 20 years

Major relic of Santa Anne enshrined in altar in moving ceremony 

“Through the intercession of Saint Anne, may the prayers which you raise up here to the honor of God bring abundant graces to your community and to the faithful of this diocese.” — Bishop Edward Lohse


On Monday, May 6th, 2024, in Lawton Michigan, hundreds joined Bishop Edward Lohse, the Bishop of Kalamazoo, and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of St. Anne's Chapel in Lawton, MI. Priests and brothers of the Canons Regular, as well as clergy from the Diocese of Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, joined the celebration as well as the faithful from all around the area. 


St. Anne’s Chapel was crafted in the mountains of southern Poland in 2003 and reassembled on the property of the Canons Regular in Michigan. The elaborate pine log structure does not use any nails and it features the traditional style of architecture that has been employed in that Polish region since the Middle Ages.


“Send your blessing, we pray, O Lord, on this church, which you have permitted us to build, and grant that all the faithful who assemble here, in holding fast to your word and your holy mysteries, may know the presence of Jesus Christ, who promised to be in the midst of all who are gathered in his name.” — Rite of Dedication 


In the moving ceremony, Bishop Lohse formally blessed the chapel sprinkling holy water upon the walls  and consecrating the altar anointing it with Sacred Chrism.  



“Therefore, we humbly beseech you, O Lord: pour forth from heaven your sanctifying power upon this altar, built in the house of the Church, that it may be an altar dedicated for all time by the sacrifice of Christ, and stand as the Lord's table where your people are refreshed by the divine banquet.” — Rite of Dedication 


During the ceremony of consecration, a major relic of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus was permanently enshrined underneath the altar as part of the rite of dedication.



The relic of St. Anne found its way to Lawton, Michigan all the way from Italy. The large historically important first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic of Saint Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary, is housed in a life-size bust-form reliquary dating to the 18th century made of gilt, silvered, and painted wood. The relic is secured with a wax seal with an imprint of a coat of arms of Bishop Francesco Vivani the Bishop of Camerino and Fabriano, Italy (A.D. 1746 - 1767). 


Following Mass, the celebration continued with a gathering of food and fellowship under the pavilion by the serene pond on the grounds of St. Anne Chapel.


The precious relic will remain at St. Anne's Chapel for years to come so that all who are in need can bring their petitions to ‘Good St. Anne,’ especially during the Triduum – or three days of Masses around her feast day on July 26 each year.


 

Homily of Most Rev. Edward Lohse, 

Bishop of Kalamazoo 

May 6th, 2024 

Oratory of St. Anne, Lawton, Michigan 


Members of the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius, Reverend Fathers, sisters, and dear friends, welcome to Saint Anne Oratory. Isn’t it a beautiful house of God?


I am happy to be with you here today as we mark the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of this house of prayer in Lawton. The presence of the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius enriches the Diocese of Kalamazoo. As kindred spirits, both the Canons Regular and the diocese look to Saint Augustine, who for you is the founder and author of your Rule, and who for us is the patron of our diocese. 


It may have taken us twenty years to get to it (they say things happen slowly in the Church), but this beautiful edifice was formally erected as an oratory in February, and today with the Rites of the Church it will be solemnly blessed and its altar dedicated (consecrated).


The readings today are taken from the ritual Mass for the Dedication or Blessing of a Church or Altar. The spiritual depth revealed within them is rich and speaks beautifully to what it is that we are doing here today.


In the Gospel, we hear the Lord say to Saint Peter that on this rock I will build my Church. Although with this particular passage from Saint Matthew we customarily focus on the rock of Saint Peter, our focus today is less on the rock of Peter and more on the Church that is built upon that rock. 


What is a church? It’s interesting to note that in most languages, at least those of European origin, the name we give to the whole people of God and the name we give to the house in which they worship is the same word: church and church, ecclesia and ecclesia, Kirche and Kirche, and so forth.


There is a reason for this ... the building would have no point were it not for the worship of God which the people offer there. In fact, the physical building, aside from its practical aspect of protecting us from the elements, the physical structure itself is an outward sign of the mystical body of Christ that worships within ... Christ the head always joined the baptized, his members ... the Church on earth shares in a mystical way the divine and heavenly liturgy in which Christ offers himself to the Father in the one acceptable sacrifice. 


Just as with the Gospel, the imagery from the second reading from the Book of Revelation is powerful. 


We are told that the former heavens and the former earth have passed away, but there are new heavens and a new earth, and a new city descending from on high – the heavenly Jerusalem.


From this oratory of Saint Anne, we see the new heavens and the new earth and the heavenly city as from afar ... and yet in this same place they draw near to us, and we to them. 


“You have drawn near to Mount Zion”, the Letter to the Hebrews tells us ... “to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the assembly of the first born enrolled in heaven”, and to the blood of Christ which speaks more eloquently than that of Abel. 


Here, at this altar, which we will soon consecrate to the worship of God, the heavenly realities commingle with those of earth. We bring forth the work of human hands, bread and wine, and we receive back the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. We lift our eyes to God, and the heavenly Jerusalem descends to meet us, and draw us up into itself, into the divine communion of heaven. 


At this altar, we are not merely citizens of earth; we become citizens of heaven, even if not yet completely, and heirs of a better promise as we join our voices to those of the angels on high as they sing in worship, Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth


And so, we gather here today, to bless this oratory dedicated to the worship of God and the honor of Saint Anne. 


As an oratory, more commonly referred to in English as a chapel, this house is not given over to all of the faithful but specifically to the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius. That is the nature of an oratory. 


It is entrusted to you and to your confreres, Father Joshua, and I ask that you be generous in extending hospitality to the faithful of this diocese who from time to time will desire to pray and worship with you here. 


On a personal note, I would like to thank you and the members of your community for your twenty years of prayerful presence at Saint Anne’s in Lawton. I look forward to continued blessings on your presence here. 


Through the intercession of Saint Anne, may the prayers which you raise up here to the honor of God bring abundant graces to your community and to the faithful of this diocese ... here, in this place, where you will draw near to Mount Zion and to the heavenly city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

 


St. Anne's Chapel is located at 33013 County Road 358, Lawton, Michigan. To plan a visit please this site.


To view more photos from the Dedication and Blessing please visit this site.

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