Bishop consecrates altar at Elizabeth Ministry chapel

By | October 28, 2009


Bishop David Ricken consecrates the altar in the chapel of Elizabeth Ministry’s Resources Center in Kaukauna on Oct. 22. Also pictured are Deacon Steven VandeHey and server Peter VandeHey. Bishop Ricken explained that when an altar is blessed “it is no longer furniture, but becomes a place of celebration, a place of sacrifice, the place of greatest love.” (Dick Meyer | For The Compass)

Elizabeth Ministry is a peer ministry of hope and healing for women and their families regarding the issues of sexuality, childbearing and relationships. There are more than 700 local chapters of Elizabeth Ministry across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Central America.

Remarking on the ministry, Bishop Ricken said that “it is not only important to teach people about being anti-abortion and pro-life, but it is more important to give our hearts, hands, minds and bodies to serve others and give help” at crisis moments.

A new Elizabeth Ministry focus is on helping people overcome addiction to pornography. Bishop Ricken said that when founder Jeannie Hannemann told him about this new work, he decided that the presence of the Blessed Sacrament was needed at Elizabeth Ministry headquarters.

“Pornography addiction is something we greatly need liberation from,” the bishop said. “You need the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord present here, because the Other One will not be happy about your work.”

According to Fr. John Doerfler, diocesan chancellor, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament can be done in private chapels “that are associated with a community or an apostolate that the Bishop deems fitting,” in keeping with canon law 934. Additionally, the sacrament is reserved in hospitals and Catholic schools. Also, since Elizabeth Ministry’s chapel is located in the former convent of St. Mary Parish – now part of St. Katharine Drexel Parish – it will also benefit that parish.

Furnishings came from a closed chapel at a Relevant Radio station in Chicago. The base of the altar is from a tree on the center’s grounds. It is part of the theme of “Reclaiming Eden” that the chapel is dedicated under.

Addressing that theme, the bishop said that we all have “an original innocence,” a term used by Pope John Paul II, and that “this house is all about helping people reclaim their original innocence. Recovered innocence happens along the way.”

After Mass, Eucharistic Adoration took place, using the last monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul. Adoration was scheduled to continue in the chapel through Oct. 29. Long-term plans for perpetual adoration at the chapel are being made.

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