Fifteen years ago, when our parish was growing by leaps and bounds, and we were becoming crammed into this space, chairs in the aisles every Sunday morning (against Fire Department regulations, of course), the first whispers began: We need more space. Can we expand this space? How can we? And, if not – oh, surely not? – maybe we ought to build a new church.
Whispers at first, but gradually the idea became a dream, and the dream, a vision.
But first we recognized the need to know, to articulate, who we were as a community and what we wanted to continue to become. A lot of thought, debate, prayer, planning and work was done before we could start, but eventually we were ready, as a Community of Faith, to take on the momentous challenge.
Under the direction of Father John Curtis, and by the Grace of God, the building that would house our Liturgies – those “ordinary” and “extraordinary” gatherings that keep us spiritually close to each other – began to go up, brick by precious brick. We were “building to serve”, to celebrate, to share what we had been given.
And what a beautiful space was created! Simple, clean and elegant in design, and in keeping with the Berea spirit of perfectly handcrafted useful items, a few special touches. For example:
- Did you know that our Baptismal Font, which was designed and created just for us, has been called the “Jewel in the Crown of the Diocese”?
- Did you know that the altar, lectern and priest’s chair are made from a tree that was felled during the tornado that swept through Berea in the mid 1990s?
- Did you know that the Crucifix was handmade by one of the Sisters of Loretto of KY?
And here we are, just ten years after the First Mass was celebrated in our new church, having made our last payment on the mortgage. Here we are this evening, at another momentous juncture – ready to burn the mortgage.
And so it is, with grateful hearts, that we come to this moment. Let us gather our thoughts and our thanksgiving into a Litany of Gratitude.
We give you thanks, O God:
- In memory and gratitude for Father Ralph Beiting, whose vision and steadfast faith led to the creation of St. Clare parish.
- For all those who fostered this parish, allowing and encouraging its faith and development throughout its 62 years.
- For all those who accepted the challenge and responsibility of building this new church, who together spent thousands of hours in planning and preparation for the vision to become a reality.
- For all those from our parish who through these years and despite hardships, have remained faithful to the pledges they made to pay for our church.
- For the Catholic Extension Society, and to the many visitors and travelers who spent time with us in Liturgy, for the financial support and donations to our parish.
- That now, going forward, we, as a parish, may continue to be open to God’s will, to grow and become all that God is asking us to become, and that we may be both faithful and bold in our service to God’s people in need.