Sunday, November 30, 2008

Set calendars for Dec. 12 for an area celebration for the ages; for Our Lady of Guadalupe

Just 11 days separate the Nashville area from one of the biggest celebrations in years: the one year anniversary of the opening of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.

Mass starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 12. But if you want to sit inside the temple, you'll need to show up by at least 5 that afternoon. Seats are going to be set up in the lobby and in the gymnasium for the overflow crowd expected on this most special day. Loud speakers or closed circuit television will be used to bring the Mass to these crowds.

Our Lady's in Nashville represents a miracle, the idea of the Rev. Joe Pat Breen of the neighboring St. Edward Catholic Church. He took up Pope Benedict's call to champion the new Catholics among us, Hispanic immigrants. And without diocese help, he raised more than $1 million toward the $1.5 million debt to pay for the church.

It has been my privilege to raise $150,000 toward that goal. It is Breen's dream to be able to retire the debt by next year. Father Fernando at Our Lady is a most holy man. He is the perfect shepherd for this flock.

Our Lady's is now the largest Catholic Church in Tennessee with more than 5,000 people at weekend masses. This miracle has inspired many. And it will bring many to the church on Nolensville road Dec. 12 to celebrate our blessed patroness and protector who came to us almost 500 years ago.

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