By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — A granite monument displaying the Ten Commandments and the beatitudes on St. Paul the Apostle Parish’s property received two blessings with water Sept. 18: one by rain and one by the pastor inside the church.
Because rain was falling at the time of the dedication ceremony, Father Michael Spiekermeier sprinkled holy water in the sanctuary — without the monument in view. He pointed out that even though God had sprinkled the monument from the outside, the priest would sprinkle and bless from the inside.
The monument stands outside the parish hall. Parishioners who park in the lots to the east side of the church and hall will see the beatitudes as they walk in. When they leave they will see the Ten Commandments on the other side.
Parishioner John Muenster spearheaded the effort to obtain the “Project Moses” monument and have it placed at St. Paul’s after seeing a plaque displaying it. Project Moses is the inspiration of John Menghini, an Overland Park, Kan., businessman, reacting to the removal of a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Wyandotte County Courthouse lawn in Kansas City, Kan., a decade ago. The American Civil Liberties Union had threatened to file a lawsuit claiming violation of the First Amendment. Menghini thought there was a scarcity of Ten Commandment monuments even at religious sites and he spoke with Jewish and Christian leaders about erecting monuments at their places of worship, according to the Project Moses website. The monument depicts the Ten Commandments in one of three versions, based on the traditions of the places of worship.
Muenster approached Fr. Spiekermeier about getting a Project Moses monument for St. Paul’s. The pastor approved the idea, but without a funding commitment. Muenster did a “quiet launch” to raise funds by talking with people before presenting his plan to parishioners this past spring. Any parishioner who donated $35 or more would receive an 8-inch by 8-inch mini plaque of the Ten Commandments and beatitudes. Money is still coming in, Muenster said. “I hoped to raise enough to pay for the monument and shipping.” He had more than enough to also pay for the installation, paving stones around the monument and other details that weren’t in the original plans. “It is gratifying to see the support of this parish,” he said.
The granite for the monument came from Mount Sinai, Egypt, and was shipped to China where it was fabricated and then sent to Long Beach, Calif. From there it was shipped to the Project Moses warehouse in Kansas City “and then to us. This monument has been about three-quarter of the way around the world.”
During the dedication Father Tim Regan, parochial vicar, read a letter from St. Paul to the Corinthians.
Fr. Spiekermeier reminded those in attendance that God has to be number one in their lives. By living out their faith and promoting the faith, hopefully others will see that and respond.