On a recent Sunday morning, the town of Ushachi in Belarus was in a tremendous stir. Hundreds of people came to witness an extraordinary event. Bishop Wladyslaw Blin of Vitebsk would soon consecrate the new Catholic church. While the building was new, the site was quite old. Decades before, long before most people present could remember, a Catholic church had stood there. During the Soviet era, however, it was shut down and allowed to fall into disrepair. It eventually collapsed.
This morning, in the midst of tremendous excitement, a beautiful new church – built in no small part with the generous contributions of American Catholics – awaited consecration. Off to one corner, as the concelebrants gathered outside in festive vestments, a woman quietly cried. “What’s wrong?” asked one of the priests. “I am thinking about my parents,” she said through tears, “and the day I walked by here as a little girl. There was nothing but a pile of ruins. I asked them what it was. They said, ‘a church.’ For years and years, I thought ‘church’ meant a mass of rubble.”
“Now I’ve lived to this day to see this wonderful building and to join in the celebration. It is truly God’s miracle!” she exclaimed through tears of joy.