Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron

Homily at the Orchard Lake Shrine Chapel 50th Anniversary | March 3, 2013

From The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop | Issued March 28, 2013

The following are excerpts from Archbishop Vigneron’s homily at a Mass at the Orchard Lake School’s Shrine Chapel on March 3, 2013, to mark the chapel’s 50th anniversary. The entire homily can be heard at the audio link.

“When we celebrate the liturgy, we are engaged in a work, a task. We have something to do. We are not spectators. The Greek word that comes to us as ‘liturgy’ contains the notion that there is a work of the people. We’ve got a task and that’s always true – but today in particular. The task that falls to each of us is to contribute our thanksgiving to God’s praise for the 50 years of grace that he has poured out in this place and through its beauty. In that sense, this Shrine Chapel is very much like the burning bush that Moses saw, the sacred place, a place for meeting God.”

“…In the Gospel, our Lord speaks most eloquently about how we must urgently repent. He expects us to bring forth good fruit. We must let ourselves be cultivated so that we bring forth the works of grace. And it is hard work, this work of repentance. Because we are children of Adam and Eve, and in our very almost DNA, we are touched by sin and we find sin fascinating. We all like it in some way, and we must spend our lives repenting from this dangerous, this toxic fascination with selfishness and rebellion.

“This Gospel truth, this truth about the Christian life – that to be a Christian is to be engaged in the lifelong recovery from sin, in a lifelong repentence, a lifelong conversion – offers, I believe, a great motive for thanking God for the 50 years of grace poured out on this sacred place. Because, in all these graces, there has been given to the people of God in this Shrine Chapel the capacity, the power, the very ability to repent, to change, to grow in holiness. In the confessions that have been heard here, most obviously, have been given the gift of repentance. You and I, we don’t know what’s been said in these confessionals. There have been wondrous miracles of graces worked through confessions heard here over these 50 years. The Masses that have been offered here, at funerals, at weddings, day in and day out, ordinary occasions, and the graces offered to the people of God have been given the strength to be able to change, to grow in holiness, to become more like Christ. Perhaps we can make kind of a corny connection. Our Lord talks about the fig tree in the orchard. Isn’t this chapel one of places of God’s orchard of grace, where he cultivates souls and hearts so that they bring forth good fruit?”