“We are truly blessed and honored that perpetual adoration is being recognized and our old chapel is being dedicated as a shrine so that everyone can come and worship 24/7,” shared Mike Dunne, parishioner of St. Mary Parish, Middletown.

Dunne and his wife, Peggy, were among the throng of parishioners and visitors who witnessed the consecration of the new Diocesan Shrine, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Oct. 16.

On Sept. 1, Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor, announced that Bishop O’Connell had designated the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel of St. Mary Parish, Middletown, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, as a Diocesan Shrine. The Bishop had promulgated the statutes establishing the old St. Mary Church/Chapel as a Diocesan Shrine under the title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

PHOTO GALLERY: Dedication of Shrine in Middletown

PHOTO GALLERY: Dedication of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Shrine

The Oct. 16 Shrine consecration began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop O’Connell in St. Mary, Mother of God Church. Following the Mass, Father Kegley, who carried a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament, and the congregation joined in a Eucharistic Procession, walking from the church to the Shrine. Once inside the shrine, the Blessed Sacrament was reposed and prayers were offered.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the day’s Readings, all of which centered around the power of prayer and perseverance. Then referencing that the Church is in the midst of a “Eucharistic Revival,” the Bishop noted how it is offering the faithful “the opportunity to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in and through his Body and Blood on the altar at Holy Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament that we preserve and cherish in the tabernacle. 

“The Holy Eucharist is, as the Church teaches, ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ There is no greater gift, no greater prayer, nothing greater that we can do on this earth. ‘This is my Body; this is my Blood.’”

Bishop O’Connell referenced the passage from St. Matthew 11:29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

“As we dedicate this Diocesan Shrine to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament here at St. Mary Parish – not only for this parish but for the entire Diocese – let’s remember what we are doing: creating that space, that place where, in the Holy Eucharist, we can always ‘find rest for our souls,’” he said.

In addition to the Shrine dedication, Bishop O’Connell blessed the new Altar of Repose for the tabernacle which is located in the center of the sanctuary in Mary, Mother of God Church, and the new statue of Mary, Mother of God.

The establishment of the Shrine is a great honor for St. Mary Parish, Father Kegley said, then referred to how the Church in the United States, led by all the Bishops, has launched a National Eucharistic Revival to restore understanding and devotion to the Holy Eucharist.

“People must know and believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “As we are being asked to rediscover the Eucharist, in all that is going on in the world today with so much fear and anxiety, we are able to come here 24/7 and experience the peace and love of Jesus Christ.”

“The Shrine’s beauty,” Father Kegley added, “is second to none.”