Montana church rededicated on Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
By Eric Connolly
The congregation at Holy Rosary participates in the Oct. 7 rededication Mass at the renovated church.Credit: Eric Connolly of the Montana Catholic
The congregation at Holy Rosary participates in the Oct. 7 rededication Mass at the renovated church.Credit: Eric Connolly of the Montana Catholic

.- Chrism oil on the altar, blessings over a new baptismal font and a standing-room congregation were part of the rededication of Holy Rosary Parish in Bozeman, Mont. on Sunday, Oct. 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Bishop George Leo Thomas of Helena, celebrated the Mass that included Fathers Leo Proxell, who is the Holy Rosary pastor; Joe Oblinger, a retired priest in Big Sky; Val Zdilla, pastor at Resurrection Parish in Bozeman; and Gregory Burke, who is retired and is a former Holy Rosary pastor.

Renovation of the church began in 2005 when Father Proxell formed a committee to determine the priorities. By 2005, the parish had 1,000 registered families, more than double the 450 when Father Proxell arrived in 2001.

“We had people in the basement watching Mass on TV,” he said in an article published in The Montana Catholic last December.“ This community is an extraordinarily well catechized community because of my predecessor, Father Beaulieu, so they were upset that people were in the basement.”

In preparing for the renovation, two priorities emerged: stay at the downtown site and double the church’s seating capacity. Plans by ThinkOne Architecture expanded the seats from 350 to 650. They are in cruciform design and are on three sides of the main altar.

The rededication Mass featured music by the Holy Rosary choir accompanied by an orchestra section from Montana State University and directed by Timothy Dueppen, MSU professor of brass and jazz.

Bishop Thomas blessed the new altar and poured chrism oil on its four corners. The oil then was rubbed in by the bishop, sealing the altar with the Holy Spirit.

Then a brazier of incense was placed upon the altar, symbolizing prayer ascending to God. Finally, as in baptism, the altar was adorned with a white cloth and the lighting of candles took place as a sign of the faith. The altar’s dedication was complete only when the Eucharist was celebrated upon it.

Bishop Thomas and priests put chrism oil on the four walls of the church. “This must continue to be that special place, of warmth and welcome, where the poor and powerless, the least, the last and the lowly, have a special place in the heart of the parish, and a reserved place at the table of the Lord,” Bishop Thomas said in his homily.

“You and I are the living stones, comissioned, co-missioned, to bring his love into every heart and home, to people great and small, in this favored portion of the Lord’s vineyard.”

Also at the rededication, the new baptismal font was blessed and the Eucharistic Chapel inaugurated.

A week later, on Oct. 14, the Holy Rosary pipe organ was dedicated.

Posted with permission from The Montana Catholic, official newspaper for the Diocese of Helena.

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