Holy Mass with the Dedication
of the New Tomb of St. Katharine Drexel
Nov. 18, 2018 – Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Phila., PA
While attendees arrived at the Cathedral for Sunday Mass, they were treated to the wonderful vocals of the visiting Xavier University Concert Choir of Louisiana, as well as the local talents of the Cathedral Basilica Choir, Archdiocesan Children’s Choir, and the Archdiocesan Choir of Philadelphia prior to the start of the special service.
Click on the video below to see a snippet of the XULA Concert Choir:
The 11:00 a.m. Solemn Mass began with a procession of local, Catholic High School student representatives bearing flags from their schools, members of the Knights of Columbus, seminarians, and clergy members, including celebrant & homilist, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.
Signing was provided for the hearing impaired, who sat in reserved seating up front. Also sitting in reserved seats were a group of Drexel family members, recipients of the miracles that lead to St. Katharine’s beatification, some of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the congregation founded by St. Katharine Drexel, and some of their Associates. The side aisles and separate chapel were filled to capacity with a diversity of ages and races. The newly installed tomb with the sacred remains of St. Katharine Drexel was blessed while those in attendance listened/viewed on various televisions displayed throughout the Cathedral. Co-celebrant, Rev. Gerald Dennis Gill, Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral, wrote the lyrics to the beautiful welcome hymn which paid homage to the saint and her mission. The liturgy included readings in English and Spanish accompanied by translations in the Mass programs.
Archbishop Chaput shared how befitting it was for him, a priest with a Native American heritage, to have the privilege to be part of the celebration of the Mass. He also spoke about how he has very fond memories of his visits to the former Shrine of St. Katharine where he celebrated special Masses for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Archbishop Chaput both acknowledged and thanked the Sisters for their attendance and their “great service to the community” in carrying on the mission of their foundress. He also expressed deep gratitude to Fr. Gill for handling the many details involved in the process of translating the remains from Bensalem to the Cathedral, and to the Connelly Foundation, who provided the generous grant for the construction and installation of the tomb. “Without their support,” the Archbishop noted, “this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Click above to view a snippet of Sr. Donna Breslin’s speech.
Sr. Donna Breslin, president of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament briefly spoke about St. Katharine Drexel and the new location of her sacred remains at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul as a “coming home for our foundress who prayed and worshiped within these very walls.” She received a hug from the Archbishop and a standing ovation from all in attendance.
Attendees were able to visit the tomb of St. Katharine Drexel prior to and after the celebration of the Mass. Many lined up to pray and take pictures in front of her tomb and visit the Drexel Family side altar adjacent to it. A development fund has been established to install additional lighting and signage in the future.
A new website for information and updates has also been developed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. You can view that at: www.saintkatharinedrexelshrine.com.
To view the EWTN video of this mass, click here, or scroll below to the story and link posted previously on this page.