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SOUTH BOSTON -- With a crowd of people looking on, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley received the blueprints and the keys to Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine, April 22, before opening the doors of the newly constructed shrine and leading a procession inside.
The symbolic handing over of the new church to the archbishop of Boston marked the first part of the Rite of Dedication, which saw Cardinal O'Malley celebrate the first Mass in the new shrine.
The shrine was filled to its capacity of about 250 people as the cardinal continued the Rite of Dedication by blessing water and sprinkling it on those in attendance, the walls of the shrine, and finally the altar before the Liturgy of the Word began.
In his homily, the cardinal spoke of the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, held in the "Upper Room" in Jerusalem.
"Today we gather to consecrate this chapel so that it will be another Cenacle, another Upper Room, where as Jesus' disciples we come together to devote ourselves to the teachings of the Apostles, the communal life, the breaking of the bread, and hopefully where we will learn to share our possessions and gifts with our brothers and sisters and those in need," said Cardinal O'Malley.
"We are so grateful in God's providence and the hard work of so many faithful people that we have this beautiful space for our Cenacle."
He recalled that Pope St. John Paul II once cited the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, saying "'Beauty will save the world.'"
"The Holy Father went on to say 'Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future. And that's why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. But beauty stirs that hidden nostalgia for God,'" the cardinal continued.
"The beauty of this shrine is precisely to allow people to glimpse God's goodness and beauty and to feel his loving presence in our midst -- that nostalgia for the transcendence."
The centerpiece of the Mass of Dedication, he said, is the consecration of the altar, "a sacred space where something holy happens."
Like the family dinner table, the Church family gathers around the altar, drawing them together to form a community.
"The altar in the church is the other table in our lives, where we gather with our extended family and with Christ, the head of our family, there to discover our identity as disciples, to share our joys and our sorrows," he said.
"This new Cenacle is where we will grow into a family of Christ, where people share their lives with each other and where we strive to be like those first Christians who were of one mind and one heart gathered in the Cenacle," said Cardinal O'Malley.
The Rite of Dedication continued following the homily, as the cardinal deposited the relics of Blessed Peter Gonzalez Telmo, St. Faustina Kowalska, and St. Anthony of Padua into the base of the altar, which was subsequently sealed. The cardinal then anointed the altar with chrism oil, and the walls of the shrine were also anointed with oil and the candles along the shrine's wall were lit with the flame taken from the Pascal candle.
The altar and the nave were incensed, and the altar was then covered with a cloth as candles were lit beside it, preparing it for the celebration of the Eucharist.
The cardinal brought the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the new tabernacle for the first time as the Mass concluded.
John Hynes III, CEO and managing partner of Boston Global Investors, Inc., the developer of the shrine, offered remarks following the conclusion of the Mass.
Thanking those who helped with the planning and the construction of the shrine, Hynes said "I will forever be filled with joy, pride, and a peaceful sense of accomplishment every time I walk over that bridge and look at this structure and walk into this amazing space."
"Our team has worked on over 30 development projects over the last 30 years, and none -- none -- has ever exceeded our expectations like this one has, as evidenced tonight," he continued.
Speaking to The Pilot, Deb Dillon, director of Property Management for the archdiocese who was integrally involved the development of the shrine , expressed her happiness that the shrine is now up and running.
"It's beautiful, and honestly I feel accomplished after eight years of working on it and I'm really happy the way it came out," she said with tears in her eyes.
Chris DiZinno, who said he has connections to the now closed Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel, said it's "amazing to see this come to fruition."
"I think it's fitting for the rebirth of the Seaport itself and it's a wonderful testament to that and I think it will attract ... a lot of people, hopefully, to the faith and a vibrant community on the waterfront," he said.