Most Rev. Robert J. McClory sprinkles holy water on the statue of St. Ann and Mary outside St. Ann Church in Gary on Nov. 21. The bishop resanctified the church grounds as well as two statues outside the church that were vandalized this year. (Anthony D. Alonzo/NWI Catholic)
GARY | Most Rev. Robert J. McClory, bishop of the Diocese of Gary, resanctified a Black Oak parish after two statues outside the church were vandalized this year.
Through this ritual, the bishop formally blessed and dedicated the parish grounds and statues. The statues serve as physical symbols of two great saints—St. Ann and Mary—who have gone before us. St. Ann is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the mother of Jesus Christ.
On Nov. 21, about 30 of the parish’s faithful participated in a service to consecrate a statue of Mary that replaced a decades-old iconic image of the Blessed Mother toppled by vandals this summer. Statues of St. Ann and Mary were reconsecrated during the prayer service because they had been overturned outside the Black Oak neighborhood church in the autumn.
During the prayer service, the bishop blessed the statues and the church entryway with holy water and reminded the faithful that God is bigger than any act of sacrilege.
“Almighty Lord and God, you are the source and origin of all life, whether body or soul. We ask you to bless this water, which we use in confidence for forgiveness of our sins, to obtain the protection of your grace against all illness and against every snare of the enemy,” prayed Bishop McClory.
Parishioners, wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, sang and joined in prayer.
The two incidents of vandalism were reported to the Gary Police Department, and an investigation continues.
The donation of a new statue of Mary, along with the refortified statue of St. Ann and Mary, helped ease the sadness some parishioners felt about the incidents. Bishop McClory urged the faithful to look to the saints—our heroes—for prayers and encouragement to persevere through difficult times.