"A priest is one who makes Christ visible. The people see Christ in the saintly priests and they seek even to touch his robes as they did the robes of Christ. Children come to him without fear; non-Catholics give to them a reverence which they rarely give to others. The sure measure by which a priest draws souls to Christ is also the means by which he can drive souls from Christ."
-- Bishop Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests
Novena for a New Church
Father of Mercies, in your goodness you created the heavens and the earth and made it a place to offer you fitting praise. You provide your people with your bountiful blessings, yet time and again we fail to live up to your covenants of love. In the fullness of time, you sent your Son to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We your servants, in thanksgiving to you desire in our hearts to build you a house as an offering of praise and a testimony of our faith in you.
If it be your will, deign to make us worthy to build an exalted house for You, where your children may bring you fitting worship. May it be a House of Prayer for our parish family. May it be a place where sinners repent, where faith increases and grace flows. May it be a refuge for sinners and a respite of all weary Christians. Direct our hearts away from sin so that our offering to you may be acceptable. May our new Church be a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem where the Lamb who was slain is offered constantly as the one true worship.
O Mary, Mother of the Church, dearest Mother of the Savior, we ask you to raise our prayer and aspirations to your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We dedicate our efforts to your honor, and promise you the gift of a place consecrated in your name. Guide us in our efforts and pray for us that we may be motivated not by false ambition or vanity, but that our hearts be consumed with zeal for the house of the Lord, the dwelling place of God most High.
We ask you, most Holy Mother for your powerful intercession together with that of our heavenly patron, (name). May we soon rejoice as we dedicate our new Church for the spread of the Catholic Faith and the praise and honor of the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.