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February 28, 2021
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ST. SEBASTIAN
(2007-04-19)
(wgvu) - AFTER YEARS IN THE PLANNING, A SOUTHWEST KENT COUNTY CATHOLIC PARISH CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF ITS NEW CHURCH. DEDICATION SERVICE FOR ST. SEBASTIAN IN BYRON CENTER IS THIS SUNDAY.
THE NEW CHURCH, SURROUNDED BY FIELDS AND FARMLAND, STANDS IN STRIKING CONTRAST TO THE MAMMOTH STONE STRUCTURE IT REPLACES. ST. SEBASTIAN PASTOR MSGR. BILL DUNCAN SAYS THEY JOKINGLY CALL THE STYLE COUNTRY GOTHIC, WITH BOTH FINISHED AND UNFINISHED WOOD, PEBBLED CONCRETE SUPPORTS AND A MIX OF ARCH DESIGN.
ON ENTERING THE SANCTUARY, ONE CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THE LACK OF STAINED GLASS WINDOWS. DUNCAN SAYS THAT WAS DONE DELIBERATELY, TO ALLOW WORSHIPERS TO TAKE IN THE BEAUTY OF THE SURROUNDING LAND, STILL LARGELY UNDEVELOPED.
SUNDAY, DIOCESAN BISHOP WALTER HURLEY JOINS THE CONGREGATION IN AN ANCIENT RITUAL OF DEDICATION AND ANOINTMENT. IT BEGINS WITH A PROCESSION UP THE HILL FROM THE OLD CHURCH.
ST. SEBASTIAN IS NAMED FOR A THIRD CENTURY MARTYR, WHO DIED DURING CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION BY THE ROMAN EMPORER DIOCLETIAN.
THE OL CHURCH WILL CONTINUE TO BE USED FOR WEDDINGS AND OTHER EVENTS FOR PARISHONERS WHO MIGHT HAVE MORE OF A BENT TOWARD TRADITION.
THE PARISH WAS FOUNDED IN 18-52 BY GERMAN IMMIGRANT FARMERS. TODAY, THOUGH MANY OF THE FARMS ARE GONE, THE AREA REMAINS RURAL AND PEACEFUL, WITH DESCENDENTS OF SEVERAL OF THE ORIGINAL SETTLERS STILL PARISH MEMBERS.
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