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Bishop anointing new altar at St. John’s sanctuary dedication

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

Father Jairo Lopez was one of the hands that created this magnificent mosaic that hangs behind the altar in the new sanctuary of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Marble Falls. The church is holding a special vespers 6:30 p.m. May 2 in the new building for the congregation and community. At 3 p.m. May 3, the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin will anoint the altar and celebrate the dedication of the new sanctuary. After the anointment, the church will host a celebration with music and other activities. Everybody is invited to both events. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Father Jairo Lopez was one of the hands that created this magnificent mosaic that hangs behind the altar in the new sanctuary of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Marble Falls. The church is holding a special vespers 6:30 p.m. May 2 in the new building for the congregation and community. At 3 p.m. May 3, the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin will anoint the altar and celebrate the dedication of the new sanctuary. After the anointment, the church will host a celebration with music and other activities. Everybody is invited to both events. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — With a growing congregation, the May 3 dedication of the new St. John the Evangelist Parish Hall comes not a moment too soon.

“We have four masses already, but we just needed more space,” the Rev. Jairo Lopez said. The new sanctuary, located a few yards from the older facility, more than doubles the capacity.

The congregation will celebrate the new sanctuary with a special vespers at 6:30 p.m. May 2 and a dedication at 3:30 p.m. May 3. Both events are open to the public.

During the vespers — evening prayers — one of the parish members, John Clark, will share a bit about the parish’s history, which goes back to 1961. The original structure was relatively small and made from granite provided by John Alexander, who owned granite quarries in the area. Eventually, the parish added on to what became the previous sanctuary.

While the church has been holding services in the new parish hall, Lopez has been using a temporary altar. The new altar was placed just days before the May 3 dedication.

Lopez explained that until the bishop anoints the altar, it can’t be used. At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin will lead a dedication and anointment service.

The bishop will start the service in the old church building and then guide the congregation and attendees to the new facility.

He’ll anoint the altar and then oversee the Eucharist.

After the service, the church will host a celebration with live music and more activities.

And like the old church and parish grounds, the new building includes artwork — particularly mosaics.

Lopez explained that the Roman Catholic Church utilized a great deal of art, including sculptures and mosaics, in its churches. The art visually tells people the story of the Christian faith. And no where is it more apparent in the new parish hall than on the wall behind the altar.

A large mosaic made up of glass and some tile shows Jesus’ crucifixion. On the right is the apostle John, after whom the church is named, and on the left is Mary.

Lopez, a renowned artist, created the mosaic as well as several more around the sanctuary.

Mosaics, he explained, are very much like a community.

“A mosaic is made up all these different sizes and colors of glass,” Lopez said. “But they come together to make up the mosaic, much like people make up a community.”

The community is invited to celebrate the new church building at both events May 2-3. The church is located at 105 RR 1431 in Marble Falls. Call (830) 693-5134 for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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