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October 29, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 26

ARTICLES

photo: Clergy on the altar, from left, are Father Michael Boehling, Deacon Paul Mahefky, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, Father James F. Kauffmann and Msgr. Mark Richard Lane.
Clergy on the altar, from left, are Father Michael Boehling, Deacon Paul Mahefky, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, Father James F. Kauffmann and Msgr. Mark Richard Lane.

St. Benedict’s celebrates end of 100th anniversary

The American Dream has been a goal of many immigrants and others who have worked hard seeking a better life for themselves and their families, but there are different versions of the American Dream depending upon who is espousing their version.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo made this assertion in his homily at the Mass marking the end of the 100th anniversary year of St. Benedict Parish in Richmond Oct. 14.

“Americans have been hearing a lot about the American Dream the past year, but some are becoming more pessimistic that the American Dream can be achieved,” he said.

Politicians running for office or those supporting these candidates are often seen on TV this fall articulating their version of the American Dream. Rival candidates even fight about it, Bishop DiLorenzo added.

Out of curiosity, he went to Google and searched for their explanation of the American Dream and found that “it actually does come up.”

“Freedom is a major component,” he said, and then from this flows the opportunity for prosperity and success.

photo: A view of the church during the processional.
A view of the church during the processional.

There is upward mobility through hard work and opportunity to develop one’s full potential, the Bishop asserted.

He then made a transition to how the American Dream can be linked to religion by which Christian believers can espouse the values which undergird their religion to people in the market place.

“You people at St. Benedict’s have been doing this for 100 years,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.

He commended St. Benedict parishioners who “seek to do God’s loving will every day of your life, who are not possessed by your possessions and do not wish hard on your enemies.”

He encouraged those in the congregation to “speak up” and continue to “support all of those values which support the American Dream that shows respect for humanity’s well-being.”

photo: Longtime parishioners of St. Benedict’s pose with Father Michael Boehling, Vicar for
Vocations, left, whose father, Tom Boehling was one of 13 children who all grew up in the
parish beginning in the 1920s. With him, from left are, Frank Stumpf, Paul and Harriet McKnight, Jimmy Boehling, Father Boehling’s uncle; Madelyn Stumpf, Jack Beirne and Joe
Dart.
Longtime parishioners of St. Benedict’s pose with Father Michael Boehling, Vicar for Vocations, left, whose father, Tom Boehling was one of 13 children who all grew up in the parish beginning in the 1920s. With him, from left are, Frank Stumpf, Paul and Harriet McKnight, Jimmy Boehling, Father Boehling’s uncle; Madelyn Stumpf, Jack Beirne and Joe Dart.

“You learn this at St. Benedict’s and you’ve been learning it for 100 years through religious education, in the context of worship, in a community which respects one another,” the Bishop said. “You find unity in our encounter of the seven sacraments and in unity of our love for one another.”

And in another tribute to St. Benedict’s, the Bishop thanked them for their generous response to a capital campaign to help purchase the building of Benedictine High School (now known as Benedictine College Preparatory), the former Benedictine monks’ priory and its adjoining parking lot which is used by parishioners when they come to Sunday Mass.

Continued use of the parking lot for the parish was in doubt when the Benedictine Society of Virginia, owners of the property, had a letter of intent to sell the property to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“We had to move quickly,” Father James Kauffmann, St. Benedict’s pastor, told The Catholic Virginian. “We faced a critical moment that could determine our future.”

After four weeks of negotiations, St. Benedict Parish, with help from the Diocese of Richmond, was able to purchase the entire block beyond St. Benedict Church for $6 million. Half of that money was to come from St. Benedict parishioners and the other half from the Diocese.

The parish has raised pledges totaling $2.1 million and additional money will come from the sale of real estate owned by St. Benedict’s.

A bronze plaque giving Bishop DiLorenzo’s name with the date of June 30, 2011, the date of property transfer, was presented to Bishop DiLorenzo at the end of Mass. It will soon be placed on the exterior wall of the former Benedictine priory.

Father Kauffmann made sure that the Bishop did not think he could take the plaque with him when he left.

“And you made sure I couldn’t take it,” Bishop DiLorenzo quipped, jokingly making reference to the heavy weight of the plaque.

Again turning to Bishop DiLorenzo, Father Kauffmann said, “Your leadership has ensured the continuation of our parish for the next one hundred years.”

For the liturgy Bishop DiLorenzo carried the same crozier used by Bishop Augustine Van de Vyver, sixth Bishop of Richmond, when he dedicated the church in 1911.

“We are delighted you are here with us to officially close the 100th anniversary,” Father Kauffmann added, then invited the Bishop to “your gymnasium” for a reception which featured a staging of a medieval liturgical drama “The Order of Virtues” written by St. Hildegard of Bingen presented by the children and youth of the parish.

Father Kauffmann noted that Pope Benedict XVI had that same day declared St. Hildegard a doctor of the Church and that a stained glass window in St. Benedict Church depicts St. Hildegard.

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