On Sunday, July 25th, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge dedicated the newly expanded St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Shallotte, NC. The church now seats 1200 worshippers, replacing the former space which accommodated 500, and making St. Brendan one of the largest churches in the Diocese.
Even with 1200 seats, 200 folding chairs were added to accommodate the large crowd for the Dedication Mass. In his opening remarks, Bishop Burbidge said, “We commend you for building such a beautiful house of God. It is a reflection of what you believe.” He added, “Nothing is more important than gathering together as God’s holy people to offer praise and worship and glory and honor to the Lord our God, knowing that only in Him through Him and with Him can we accomplish marvelous deeds.”
Before Mass began, the builder passed the keys to the church to the Bishop. The Bishop then blessed the walls of the church with holy water.
In his homily, Reverend Robert Ippolito, MS, pastor of St Brendan, commended the parish community for its hard work, patience and perseverance in completing the project. He recalled a widow who was dying and called for him to come see her. She wanted to pay off the rest of her pledge to fund the new construction. Fr. Ippolito remarked there were many such stories of sacrifice and dedication to this building project throughout the community.
Following the homily, the Bishop anointed and incensed the altar. Parishioners then dressed the altar in a white cloth, decorated it with flowers and lit the Eucharistic candles.
St. Brendan the Navigator Church was founded in 1983 and has outgrown two buildings. Ten years ago, there were 100 families in the parish; today St. Brendan is home to 3800 families. More than half of the parishioners are age 60 and older. “You’ll find people from all over the world here,” reflected parishioner Jim Russell.
“Isn’t this a great day?” asked another parishioner, Marcia Matthews. “My husband helped with the plumbing of the church. Where I come from, New York City, the churches were already built. St. Brendan’s feels like family; that’s what makes it so special.”