Sts. Joachim and Anne’s vocation brought about the salvation of mankind, archbishop says on Detroit's patronal feast day
DETROIT — God becoming man means He not only took on flesh, but He also had a family. He has parents.
He even has grandparents.
And just as it is right and proper for people to honor their grandparents, it is just as prudent to honor Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus Christ, said Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron at the Basilica of Ste. Anne during the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne on July 26.
“St. Anne and St. Joachim were not only recipients, receivers of the blessings from God, they were agents; they had a mission,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “They had a role in bringing about the salvation that is being accomplished by God becoming man. For that we give thanks here in the Eucharist.”
Archbishop Vigneron said the celebration of St. Anne — who in 2011 was proclaimed as the patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit — and St. Joachim is a chance to reflect on their vocation and role in salvation history, being the parents of Mary, the Mother of God.
“Anne and Joachim have an indispensable role in fulfilling God’s promise,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Because it was their daughter, Mary, who was the prophesized virgin that would bear the Son, that she’d be called the Mother of God. We need to think about how Anne and Joachim played a role in bringing about the Incarnation, so we can then understand the blessings offered to us.”
The Basilica of Ste. Anne completed a novena to St. Anne in the buildup to the feast day, celebrating a different culture present in the Archdiocese of Detroit each day. The novena dates to 1886, when Ste. Anne de Detroit moved to its current location and church edifice.
The St. Anne Shrine Festival Choir and Gabriel Richard Schola and Brass performed for the feast day, a celebration of the parish’s past and present in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in southeast Michigan, a mission very much in the same vein as Sts. Joachim and Anne, Archbishop Vigneron said.
“Each of us has a personal call, just as they had a call, a vocation to be a way to help make God present and real in our world,” said Archbishop Vigneron, who was celebrating the 48th anniversary of his priestly ordination on July 26. “First and foremost by the way we live. This is how we in some sense make God present in us: by living the life of Christ, by making an offering of Christ, and by caring for one another in the heart of Christ. And our mission is likewise to be evangelists, to share the good news that God has come to dwell with us, so He can bring us home to dwell with Him forever.”
The Basilica of Ste. Anne dates back to July 26, 1701, two days after Detroit’s founding.
Since the parish was established, it has been a center of prayer, education, health care and welcome for the different waves of immigrants and communities that have come to the region.
The prayers of the faithful reflected that history, calling upon St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Frances Cabrini, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede on behalf of the immigrant communities, health care facilities, and schools throughout the archdiocese.
“We pray today that our community will be directed according to the mind and heart of Jesus,” Archbishop Vigneron said, “God made flesh, God the Son, God the grandson of Anne and Joachim. That our world will in its time recognize the right to life for the unborn and the aging, that our world will care for the marginalized, especially for the immigrants and those who are refugees. And for our education that it will conform to what we teach in our schools to the plan of God the Father, the Son, Jesus, and this role we all have in shaping this corner of the world to the mind and heart of Jesus.”
The archbishop also called on the parish to remember the heroic deeds of Fr. Gabriel Richard, the former pastor of Ste. Anne who is regarded as the city’s "second founder," advocating for Detroit following the Great Fire of 1805.
Following Mass, parishioners processed around the church with a statue of St. Anne while prayers for temporal favors and the litany of St. Anne was prayed. Parishioners also had the chance to venerate the relics of St. Anne.
“I invite you please tonight, to renew your acceptance, your commitment to work along with Anne and Joachim and take up your mission, our mission to help make God present in our world,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “To receive the help of God through the Incarnation through this daughter of Anne and Joachim, Mary, who offered her very self as a way of God becoming human. He became true manna from heaven, the Bread of Life, the gift of offered here in the Eucharist, that gives us strength to do our share in the mission of evangelization.”