I have raised up a chosen man from my people, with my holy oil I have anointed him so that my hand is always with him and my arm strengthens him.
A year ago, on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Thomas G. Doran of the diocese of Rockford elevated a church downtown on Elm Street, St. Mary’s Shrine, to the status of an oratory. (See “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” The Rockford Files, October 2002). The declaration seemed the crowning moment in the five-year-long comeback of the second-oldest Catholic church in Rockford. Before the fall of 1997, when the bishop entrusted St. Mary’s to the care of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, the church had failed as a parish. Downtown Rockford simply no longer has enough residents—Catholic or otherwise—to sustain the massive red-brick Gothic structure. The Institute, which, at the invitation of Bishop Doran, ministers to the Latin Mass Community of Rockford, took on the task with gusto, under the leadership of St. Mary’s rector, Fr. Brian A.T. Bovee.
O God, who for the defense of the Catholic Faith and the restoration of all things in Christ didst fill Saint Pius, Supreme Pontiff, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage: grant in Thy loving kindness that by following his teachings and examples we may attain eternal rewards.