By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
St. Benedict Parish now enjoys the company of 50 new faithful, all of them saints.
During the 12:30 p.m. Mass March 17, Father Garry Koch, pastor, blessed the Holmdel church’s new Hall of Saints. Icons of all 12 Apostles of Jesus and 38 other saints, including St. Augustine of Canterbury, St. Monica, St. Ignatius, St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Patrick, fill the walls of the daily chapel.
The parish is no stranger to saint icons: the school refurbished and remounted pictures of saints, complete with short biographies penned by Father Koch, on its walls in the fall of 2017. The pastor credits parishioner Dennis Vassallo with the desire to see the images of the Apostles in the Church, and, Father Koch explained, “The rest of the icons grew from there. there are yet other icons St. Benedict would like to add, and that will happen in due time.”
In his weekly pastoral letter, Father Koch explained the importance of iconography to faithful, noting they are a rich part of our tradition, and worthy of veneration.
“To feel the presence of the saints with us is a powerful experience,” he wrote. “We use images – statues, icons and other forms of art – as a reminder of the humanity of the saints and as a challenge to us that we, too, are on the path to sanctity. The saints represented us in the chapel are the patrons of the various causes that are dear to so many of us.
The scores of saintly influences on the walls of the chapel stand as mute witnesses of faith. The addition of a Lenten shrine, focused on the Pieta and the Stations of the Cross, is accompanied by a basket of pencils and papers for visitors to the Hall of Saints to silently voice their prayer petitions.
Father Koch invited, “You are welcome to write your journey – whatever that journey might be – and place it into the basket. This way of articulating our prayers helps to put a sense of hope and the solidarity of the saints with our journey. No matter how alone we might feel, we know that we are never truly alone as the saints walk with us on our journey to sainthood.”[[In-content Ad]]