An Anniversary Message from Monsignor Rupert
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Acts 17:24-25
My Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we celebrate the 136th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral of Saint Peter. This occasion is celebrated as a Solemnity within the Cathedral and as a Feast in all parishes in the Diocese of Scranton. It is done so to reflect the importance of the Cathedral in the life of our local Church. It is here that Bishop Bambera has his chair, or cathedra, and it is here that we celebrate great moments in our community of faith.
Consecrated the Cathedral of Saint Peter by Scranton's first bishop, the Right Reverend William O'Hara on September 28, 1884, the Cathedral had been Saint Vincent de Paul Church for seventeen years. The change of name calls to mind Christ's words to Saint Peter: "Upon this rock, I will build my church.” Mt 16:18
This year has been fraught with many extraordinary challenges, perhaps the greatest being the continuing uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic. In celebrating an anniversary, one cannot help but to look at the year before and think of all that transpired. In the midst of so much upheaval in our world, the less desired “bad” memories have a tendency to bubble to the surface. In particular, I think of the four months which saw our church doors locked; I think of the great Easter Vigil celebrated in front of an empty church; and I think of all those who completed their earthly journey and were called home to Christ. There are, however, “good” memories of cherished events and happy occurrences. They may not have taken place in the ways in which we are accustomed but they were, nonetheless, filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Earlier this year, in union with our Holy Father Pope Francis and the Universal Church, Bishop Bambera declared a “Year of Saint Joseph” to be observed in the Diocese of Scranton until March 2021. During his earthly life, Saint Joseph's great mission was to be a guardian to Jesus and Mary. That guardianship extends to us today. In his weekly general audience on March
18, 2020, Pope Francis had the following words to offer: “In life, in work, in family, in joy and in sorrow, Saint Joseph always looked for and loved the Lord, earning the praise Scripture offers of being a just and wise man. Always invoke him, especially in difficult times, and entrust your lives to this great saint.”
Let us all contemplate the trials, fears, and anxieties that Saint Joseph faced while raising Jesus. In many ways, they are the same fears we face today. His trust in God kept him from losing faith in God and in His love. On this day, in a special way, let us give glory to God and remember the individuals of generations past who made sacrifices in the name of Jesus to build our beloved Cathedral Church. The bricks, wood, shingles, and mortar that make up the building represent the real sacrifices of our ancestors and the trials and uncertainties they faced in their daily lives.
The building that stands today is a testament to the faith they had in God. They trusted Him; they loved Him. Their trust in our Lord kept them from losing their faith in God and in His love. Saint Joseph had this same type of love. A carpenter by trade, he would have been very precise in his measurements and calculations in order to fulfill his daily work. He would have worked with attention to detail and precision. But he also lived his life within the mystery of God and in His son, Jesus whom he cared for during His earthly mission. Call upon Saint Joseph in your time of need and he will answer you with the same kind compassion and loving fidelity he had for his Son.
I offer the following prayer for our Cathedral and for you on this special day. Know that I personally hold each of you and those you hold dear in my prayers daily. As we look forward in blessed hope, we give thanks this day for our Cathedral which in its beauty and holiness gives us a glimpse of the glory which one day awaits us.
On this day, the day we celebrate one hundred and thirty six years of faithful service to the people of the Diocese of Scranton and beyond, I pray that, like Saint Joseph, we learn from him that only trust in and love of God can turn doubt into certainty, evil into good, and darkness of the night into a radiant dawn.
May God bless you on this anniversary day and always!
Monsignor Dale R. Rupert Pastor,
Cathedral of Saint Peter
Father of holiness and power, be present to us in this house of prayer, this place of salvation and sacrament, where Your Gospel of peace is proclaimed, and Your holy mysteries celebrated.
In this house we come to know anew the abiding of Your dwelling among us. Welcome us when we come before You as a sinful and broken people; nourish us in Your love and make us whole again.
Shape and enrich the fabric of our being so that we may truly become the Body of Christ.
As we journey forth from this venerable Cathedral; guide us by Your Word, bring us closer to fulfillment, in the vision of Your peace, and be with us on our journey through this life until we come at last to the Heavenly City of the new Jerusalem.
O Glorious Saint Peter, who, in return for your strong and generous faith, your profound and sincere humility, and your burning love, was rewarded by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and, in particular, with the leadership of the other Apostles and the primacy of the whole Church, of which you were made the foundation stone, obtain for us the grace of a lively faith.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.