Father Tirso

SHE’S HERE!!! If you do not know to whom I am referring, I invite you to take a look at the west side of the Gathering Space in church. We have a new addition to the shrine of the Virgin Mary which was an unused confessional. That project has been about four years in the making and the new statue in the shrine virtually completes the project. The only things that are left now to do are the finishing touches like a plaque to explain the shrine/memorial.

Some of you may recall that I had mentioned the name George Meyers several times since I have been in the parish. Again, George was a generous donor and dedicated parishioner. He was also one of the last remaining Luxembourgers in the parish. He passed away shortly after I started here at the parish. He had left a sizeable amount of money to the parish after he passed which we were able to use to repair a major leak on the façade of our church. As an act of gratitude, I began at that time thinking of a way to remember his generosity and spirit. I thought a shrine to Our Lady of Luxembourg would be a fitting tribute to George and also become a way to honor the history of this faith community. Immigrants from Luxembourg built this church and so the shrine is also a tribute to their sacrifice.

The statue of Our Lady of Luxembourg comes to us straight from Luxembourg. She is a gift to us from the Cardinal Archbishop of Luxembourg. When he found out about this project, he was more than happy to donate a statue. Many of the parishes in his archdiocese have also undergone restructuring, merging, and even closing. The parish of St. Barbara in Lasauvage, Luxembourg was one of the parishes that closed. Fortunately, there was a statue of Our Lady that used to be in that church and is now the one that adorns our worship space.

I am grateful to George Jones, Kevin Wester, and the entire Luxembourg Brotherhood of America for helping to make this happen. The LBA raised money to obtain a statue. But since this statue was donated, the LBA used the funds to have Our Lady shipped here. The LBA is also looking into a new pedestal that will allow her to fit better in her new space. I will be working with the LBA to plan a date when we can officially welcome Our Lady and have her blessed.

Our Lady’s arrival to us is actually timely. The story goes that in the time of the Great Plague, the people of Luxembourg guided by Jesuit priests to be united in prayer to be delivered from the Plague. Luxembourg was among the first places to be spared of the Plague and the people attributed the miracle to the intercession of Our Lady of Consolation.

In an act of gratitude, the people of Luxembourg honored the Virgin Mary by giving her the key to their entire nation. For this reason, one of Our Lady’s symbols that she carries is a key representing the gratitude of the Luxembourg people for her intercession during the time of the Great Plague. This is also the reason why she is now known as Our Lady of Luxembourg aka Our Lady of Consolation. Her intercession is much needed now as we face the crisis of the Corona Virus. This makes her arrival at this time very providential.

Our Lady also carries a symbol of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is also a very fitting symbol for her to carry especially since our patroness was pivotal in promoting the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Our Lady also carries a scepter reminding us that she is Queen of Heaven and Earth. She also came with nine (9) vestments. There is one for each liturgical season plus five more. Our Lady will always be dressed at her very best.

I am grateful as well to the parishioners of SMM because you also helped to make this happen. You had donated to the reconstruction of the confessional into a shrine. I ask that we all now help to honor the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Consolation, and ask for her intercession now and always.

Fr. Tirso S. Villaverde, Jr.

P.S.—While in transit, Our Lady’s right arm broke off. She is made of wood so I managed to use wood glue to reattach her arm and it seems to be holding for now. However, this might be a temporary solution and I will inquire into a better and more permanent solution. For now, I ask that we reverence her from a distance. Namely, I request that we do not try to touch her since I am not sure how long the wood glue solution will last. Thank you!

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