Catholic Free Press

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  • Aug
  • 23

St. Richard Parish, Sterling, dedicates outdoor worship space

Posted By August 23, 2012 | 1:11 pm | Lead Story #3
StRichard Shrine Dedication 2WEB

By Tanya Connor

STERLING – A new outdoor shrine in memory of a parishioner was dedicated Aug. 15 at St. Richard of Chichester Parish.
The pastor, Father James M. Steuterman, said he blessed the shrine in memory of Karen Casey, the parish’s former director of religious education, after Mass for the feast of the Assumption. He said Mrs. Casey died an untimely death from cancer a couple years ago, and her husband, Neil, and their children, Connor, Dylan and Shannon, are parishioners there.
The shrine’s altar is made of two large stones from the apple orchard of Rick Malone, a parishioner and member of the parish’s Knights of Columbus Council #14940, Father Steuterman said. He said the Knights cleared the area for the shrine and are coordinating the project, which was his idea.
“Our hope is to continue to develop this piece of land so that it is more and more attractive and useful to the parish,” said Grand Knight, Paul Bergeron.
Father Steuterman said he cut a dead tree behind the altar into a chair shape to make a presider’s chair.
The crucifix behind the chair is a handmade one from a shrine in New Mexico, and the owl beside it is the parish’s “animal of the year,” he said. He said animals are revelations of God, and “owl” stands for “Our Wonderful Lord.”
Father Steuterman said he got the lectern at a garden shop. It is the same type of lectern he had at an outdoor shrine area at St. Ann Parish in North Oxford when he was pastor there.
The model of a Catholic Family Bible, reminiscent of the Book of Kells, was hand-carved out of bluestone by a person in North County, he said.
The statue of Mary and the Child Jesus is made of the same kind of material used to fix Michelangelo’s Pieta in Rome, and was paid for by parishioner Joanne Kneeland, in memory of her late husband, Richard, Father Steuterman said.
There is a fire pit, which the pastor said he has used for programs with the children of the parish.
Paving part of the ground are bricks on which those interested can have loved ones’ names or something else engraved.
“Listen to the natural world, God’s first Bible,” says one brick.
“The universe has been there 13 billion years and God has been revealing himself through the beauty of nature all this time,” Father Steuterman said. “Nature is God’s first Bible and tells us so much about God. When we add the revelation of holy Scripture to this we can appreciate in a deeper way our beautiful Catholic faith. Masses and prayer services and penance services will lead us, especially our children, to a new and deeper appreciation of God, as well as a deeper ecological concern for Mother Earth.”