The Gateway to Heaven opened as scheduled on Saturday, November 22 at St. John Bosco Church in Lakewood. Torrential rain poured down early in the day, threatening the event. However, a window of sunshine opened just before the the crowd arrived to honor former Pastor Lee Hightower, or just for the chance to be the first to step through the Gateway to Heaven newly erected in the parish’s unique Meditation Park.
Among those present was Father Hightower’s brother, John Hightower and his family. There was a mood of celebration and reflection as Jim Senko, who was the driving force behind the park and the gate, spoke movingly of what Father Hightower had meant in his life. He spoke of the life changing nature of his relationship with the former pastor. Several other then shared reflection and memory. Then came the highly anticipated moment as the assembly, led by Pastor Peter Mactutis processed to the Gateway.
After the pastor’s dedication and blessing came the moment the crowd was waiting for. “Can we go through the gate,now?” someone asked. “Of course, that’s what we came for,” came the answer and through the gate they went, some singing snatches of hymns, some praying the rosary, others just enjoying the moment. It was even rumored that some went through the Gateway several times. The Gateway to Heaven is part of the St. John Bosco 1.3 acre meditation park which is open to the public during daylight hours, year round.