New church blessed for St. Ferdinand in Blanco
By Shelley Metcalf
Catholic Spirit Staff
On the evening of Dec. 20, Bishop Joe Vásquez blessed the new church at St. Ferdinand Parish in Blanco. “It is an evening of joy and celebration for the entire community of Blanco,” the bishop said. “This noble structure is a sign of the invisible God, and it is dedicated to his honor and his glory.”
The town of Blanco, which sits on the southwestern edge of the Austin Diocese, has a population of about 1,500. St. Ferdinand Parish had about 250 families, said Father Justin Udomah, the pastor.
“But that is a number of the past, because we are seeing more and more people at Mass. And the offertory collections are increasing, which means more people are coming,” Father Udomah said.
The old church, though beautiful, was quite limiting because it only sat about 130 people, he said. The new church, which sits just across the parking lot from the original church, seats about 500 people, and it can be expanded in the future if need be.
“I commend you brothers and sisters in your commitment to bring about the completion of this new sanctuary,” Bishop Vásquez said. “This place is truly a house of God, a place of prayer, a place where you will gather to worship and celebrate the sacraments.”
Pope Francis has said the church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners, the bishop reminded the crowd.
“We are all sinners who strive to become saints and therefore, we open the doors of our churches, this church here, to all people,” he said.
“It is only when we experience the infinite mercy of God’s forgiveness and therefore invite others to share this compassion of God that we understand what church is truly about,” Bishop Vásquez said.
The bishop blessed the altar and the walls of the new church with Chrism, and then thanked the community for continuing to “keep the faith strong.”
Father Udomah said the new church “is an open door to the faith that is flourishing in this area.”