The Rites of Dedication
Church of Saint James the Greater
Charles Town, West Virginia
The rite for the DEDICATION of a church and an altar
is rightly considered to be among
the most solemn of liturigcal services.
A CHURCH is the place where the Christian
community is gathered to hear the WORD OF GOD,
to offer INTERCESSION and PRAISE to him,
and above all to celebrate the HOLY MYSTERIES
and it is the place where the holy sacrament
of the EUCHARIST is kept.
Thus it stands as a special kind of image of the CHURCH itself,
which is God's temple built from LIVING STONES.
And the ALTAR of a church,
around which the holy people gather
to take part in the Lord's SACRIFICE
and to be refreshed at the HEAVENLY MEAL,
stands as a sign of CHRIST himself,
who is the PRIEST, the VICTIM, and the ALTAR
of his own sacrifice.
[Decree from the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship 1977]
The Rites of Dedication were celebrated by The Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Bishop Bransfield is the former Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.
The Rev. Brian Owens is pastor of Saint James Parish.
Prelude Music [as the congregation gathers in the parking lot of the neighboring Social Concerns Building]
- Ricerar del primo (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina) – National Chamber Brass
- Thanks Be to Yahweh (Heinrich Schütz) – Saint James Festival Choir
- Rigaudon (André Campra) – National Chamber Brass
- If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments (Thomas Tallis) – Saint James Schola Cantorum
- Sonata from Die bankelsangerlieder (anonymous) – National Chamber Brass
- Ave Maria (Jacob Arcadelt) – Saint James Festival Choir
- Il est bel et bon (Pierre Passerreau) – National Chamber Brass
- The Mountains Shall Rejoice (Gary Penkala) – Saint James Festival Choir [Dedicated to the Parish of Saint James]
- Canzona per sonare No.1 (Giovanni Gabrieli) – National Chamber Brass
- Estote fortes (Luca Marenzio) – Saint James Schola Cantorum
- Canzona bergamasque (Samuel Schedit) – National Chamber Brass
- Wisdom, My Road (Leslie Palmer Barnhart)) – Saint James Festival Choir
- selections from Water Music Suite (G.F. Handel) – National Chamber Brass
- Laudate nomen Domini (Christopher Tye) – Saint James Festival Choir
Entrance into the Church
The bishop comes to meet the people gathered away from the church, and is greeted with:
O Sing Joyfully (Adrian Batten) – Saint James Schola Cantorum
Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water
- Address by the Bishop
- Procession to the Building [as the congregation walks to the piazza]
Let Us Go Rejoicing & Psalm 122 (Anglican chant) – Choirs & Congregation
- Handing over the Church Building to the Bishop
- Opening the Doors of the Church
- Procession into the Church
Lift High the Ancient Portals & Psalms 24 and 145 (Gary Penkala) – Choirs, Congregation & Handbells
Locus iste (Anton Buckner) – Saint James Festival Choir
- Prayer of Blessing
- Sprinkling the People and the Church Walls
Vidi aquam (Gregorian chant) – Saint James Schola Cantorum
Sicut cervus desiderat (G.P. da Palestrina) – Saint James Schola Cantorum
Melodic Gloria (Rev. James Chepponis) – Choirs, Brass, Timpani, Organ, Congregation
Liturgy of the Word
Instruction by the Bishop on the Word of God
First Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 8-10 — The people of Israel gathered in the presence of the scribe Ezra to hear the proclamation of the law of God
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19 (Chrysogonus Waddell) – Cantor, Congregation, Trombone
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22 — You form a building which rises on the foundation of apostles and prophets
Renaissance Alleluia (Gary Penkala) – Choirs, Brass, Timpani, Organ, Congregation
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19 — You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church
[chanted by The Rev. Mr. David E. Galvin, Saint James Parish, from the Book of Sung Gospels]
Profession of Faith
Prayer of Dedication and the Anointings
Litany of the Saints
The invocations of the litany are sung in various languages represented among the parishioners of Saint James Parish.
The responses, showing our universality as members of the Roman Catholic Church, are sung in Latin.
Depositing of the Relics
- Invitation to Prayer
- Litany of the Saints
- Concluding Prayer
Relics of the saints, including Saint James the Greater, a gift of the Cathedral-Basilica of Santiago de Compostela, are placed in the new altar.
A newly-composed setting of Psalm 15 was commissioned by the parish for this liturgy:
Psalm for the Relics
(J. William Greene) – Festival Choir, Trombone, Organ, Handbells, Congregation
Prayer of Dedication
Anointing of the Altar and the Walls of the Church
O How Amiable (Ralph Vaughan Williams) – Saint James Festival Choir & Youth Choirs
O Christ, the World's Salvation (text: Dennis DiPaolo; tune: Thaxted)) – Brass, Organ, Congregation
Incensation of the Altar and the Church
Alleluia from Exsultate jubilate (W.A. Mozart) – Sacred Heart Choir
Choral Fanfare (Robert E. Smith) – Saint James Festival Choir
Lighting of the Altar and the Church
The altar candles are arranged and lit, the 12 consecration candles are lit, and the church lights, subdued up to this point, are switched on fully.
Sound the Trumpet (Henry Purcell) – Immaculate Heart Choir, Cello, Organ