Catholic Herald staff
As Lent, a season of renewal, continues, a ministry fair has been organized and the adoration chapel remodeled at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Hayward.
Along with a number of other churches across the Diocese of Superior, the parish will also host eucharistic adoration as part of the worldwide “24 Hours for the Lord” – an initiative emphasizing the sacrament of reconciliation – which Pope Francis included in “The Face of Mercy,” the papal bull of indiction in which he called for the Year of Mercy.
Approximately 150 parishioners participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Joseph. Although the chapel has only been used for that purpose for 15 years, a recent remodeling is lending a historic feel to the space.
“We’re very fortunate we have a dedicated eucharistic adoration chapel,” said Bob Ornberg, member of the parish’s adoration committee. “The people find that they can go there, and it’s kind of a personal relationship with Jesus, in a sense. The Mass is the center of our faith, but the chapel is something special for this parish.”
Built in 1967, the current church serves a parish established in the 1880s. After the building was constructed, the old fixtures – lifelike statuary, an ornate tabernacle from the 1930s – were put in storage.
Until Fr. Gerard Willger took over last summer, Fr. Phil Juza was the pastor of the parish. Fr. Juza had the statues restored, Ornberg said, and they have been placed in the chapel.
“It wasn’t a major renovation in the sense that we changed everything,” Ornberg explained. Mostly, they refreshed the space.
“The really neat thing about this, I think, not only that it’s done, but you’ll notice there’s a Blessed Virgin statue, and a St. Joseph and a Baby Jesus statue,” he added. “Fr. Phil had them all restored.
Beautifully done … all of those things, including our tabernacle, come from the church.”
The statue of Mary is a fitting addition, given the chapel’s history.
“The adoration program was … initially, in part … inspired by pilgrimages made to Medjugorje by some of our parishioners starting in 1993, the site of apparitions still in progress since 1981,” Ornberg commented. “As a result, a Marian prayer hour was established before the Blessed Sacrament, and ultimately eucharistic adoration became a reality. There is no doubt that the call to prayer from our Blessed Mother was the catalyst for this program, guided by the Holy Spirit, and is still alive and well 15 years later.”
St. Joseph has daily adoration, with the goal of someday offering perpetual adoration. Ornberg said a rededication of the chapel is tentatively planned, although a date has not been set; Fr. Willger has been supportive of the project.
“We’re very blessed to have this (chapel),” he said. “That little added touch from the old church kind of adds something.”
24 Hours for the Lord
Pope Francis has invited churches worldwide to observe 24 Hours for the Lord Friday, March 4, through Saturday, March 5.
The primary focus of the initiative is to offer the sacrament of reconciliation, although churches can also schedule Masses or worship events, recite the Liturgy of the Hours and host eucharistic adoration, youth events, sacred music concerts and more.
Parishes throughout the Diocese of Superior are serving as primary sites where Catholics can go to take part; they include the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior; St. Anthony Abbot, Cumberland; St. Joseph Church, Rice Lake; St. Bridget Church, River Falls; Our Lady of the Lake Cluster, Ashland; St. Therese of Lisieux Church, Phillips; and Nativity of Our Lord Church, Rhinelander.
Additionally, a few parishes, including St. Joseph; Our Lady of Lourdes, Dobie; and Our Lady of Sorrows, Ladysmith, will offer 24-hour adoration March 4-5.
Ornberg likes the idea of a worldwide day of prayer.
“Our diocesan observance consists of primary sites offering the sacrament of reconciliation and other liturgical events in combination with the secondary sites’ abilities to ‘fill-in’ the overnight hours with what they do best (and regularly) – perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” explained Paul Birch, director of the diocesan Office of Worship.
Ornberg likes the idea of a worldwide day of prayer.
“It’s not a bad idea, particularly in the world we live in today,” he said. “We could have a world day of prayer every week, the way things are going.”
Slated to take place the weekend of March 12-13, the ministry fair will feature displays from the parish’s 20 or so ministries – everything from youth groups and Recycled Christmas to book clubs and prayer shawls.
“It’s something that our parish hasn’t done before that I know of. It’s a first for St. Joseph,” said Ornberg.
The fair is a means of both informing and inviting parishioners.
“All the functions grouped within the church,” he added. “We’re bringing all that together.”
Members of each group or activity will design displays explaining their ministries, and the displays will be up before and after Masses that weekend, with parishioners on hand to answer any questions. The displays will remain for about a week.
He hopes the fair will foster camaraderie and help unengaged parishioners align their skills and abilities with corresponding groups or activities.
“Maybe people will think about joining,” he said. “Everybody has their talents.”
Fr. Willger has also been supportive of the ministry fair, Ornberg added.
“It’s just that coming together as a parish, as a people,” he said. “I think it’s important … We’ve got a lot of nice response from people who want to be in this. A nice thing, I think, and good for the parish.”
As winter melts into spring, Ornberg is also optimistic about the Diocese of Superior’s new leader, Bishop James P. Powers. He and his wife knew “Fr. Jim” when the couple used to go to church in Minong, and the newly installed bishop also prays with the Ornbergs at their pro-life display in Rice Lake.
“He’s a good guy,” Ornberg added. “I think he’ll be good for the diocese.”