On May 31 Thomas McKenna joined Archbishop Raymond Burke in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to enshrine a picture and relic of St. Gianna in the newly formed parish of St. Gianna in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.
The parish is the first in the United States dedicated to St. Gianna. It was also the first parish church to host an enshrinement program of the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild.
The parish was founded in 2006 by Archbishop Burke to serve a growing Catholic population in St. Charles County. Until the church is built the parish is using a temporary building for services and administration. The current facility has been decorated to transform a simple hall into a church environment which was packed that afternoon.
Following Mass, Archbishop Burke led the faithful in special prayers for the act. The picture was carried by Thomas McKenna, president of the Guild, together with parishioner Larry Slattery, to a prominent location on the front wall beside the alter. Once in place Archbishop Burke blessed it and led the faithful in the recitation of a consecration to Mary composed by St. Gianna.
After an interval for refreshments and an occasion for parishioners to greet Archbishop Burke and Mr. McKenna, everyone gathered once again in the church for a presentation on the life of St. Gianna.
Mr. McKenna gave an over-view of the life of the saint and shared many details he learned from personal conversations with St. Gianna’s family members. The second part of the presentation Archbishop Burke shared details about the trip he made with Mr. McKenna in 2007 to visit the family and places where St. Gianna lived. The public found it very inspiring to learn first hand about the saint and see pictures of their Archbishop with the husband, daughters, and two living siblings of St. Gianna.Blessing of St. Gianna's Image
The pastor, Fr. Timothy Elliot summed it up saying, “it [the presentation] gave many insights into the life of our patron saint and will help us to have greater devotion to her and follow her example of sanctity.”