Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 15, 2010
Picnics, Pilgrimages are summer fare
Holidays, relaxing Sundays lend themselves to time to appreciate their faith and fellow parishioners
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Whether they are processions, pilgrimages, parish anniversaries or picnics, outdoor summer events are always warmly welcomed by Alberta Catholics. They see these events as an opportunity to spend time outdoors and to rekindle friendships.
St. Stanislaus Church in Round Hill, a mission of Camrose, stands empty most of the year.
But on the feast of Corpus Christi the little church teems with life as more than 200 people gather in and around it to mark the occasion, which includes an outdoor Mass, a procession on the church grounds and a potluck dinner at the Round Hill Community Centre.
Participants - the majority of whom are of Polish, Ukrainian, Scandinavian and German backgrounds - include area residents and former parishioners that have moved to other parts of Alberta and the United States.
This year, however, the attendance may dwindle as another major event will occur the same day - the 100th anniversary of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Camrose - and some people may not be able to attend.
Participants are asked to bring salads or deserts while the Catholic Women's League of Round Hill supplies the meat, the potatoes and everything else.
A TOGETHER TIME
Josephine Ilnicki, an event organizer, said the celebration is important to the Round Hill community because "it brings people together, especially the oldtimers."
"They just enjoy meeting others while spending time in their own home community."
Ilnicki and her husband Karol look forward to the event every year. "It's just like going to Skaro," she said. "It's spiritually uplifting."
In the community of Krakow, near Mundare, residents look forward to the annual visit of Father Nilo Macapinlac to bless the cemetery.
Based in Vegreville, Macapinlac looks after nine parishes and missions, including Krakow, whose parish and cemetery were established in 1907.
Last year the Mass and blessing were held July 4 and some 60 people from the Krakow area and Edmonton took part. The date for this year's blessing is yet to be set. Participants are generally residents and former residents who have family buried there. About 250 people are buried at the cemetery.
Donna Kucheraway and her husband Edward have family buried in the cemetery and help keep it clean. They and a few of their neighbours get together every year and help put the celebration together.
"Everyone looks forward to this potluck dinner that we put on after Mass," she said. "It's a time to get together and to celebrate and to get to know everyone."
The dinner is usually held in the large church hall and sometimes features a hot meal or a cold one consisting of open face buns, ham sandwiches, sausages, cheese and salads. Participants - a mix of people of Polish, Ukrainian and French backgrounds - also bring all kinds of desserts. Agnes and Ernie Patrie provide the music for the celebration.
Parishioners from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wainwright are preparing to mark their parish's 50th anniversary on April 23 to 25. The celebration will include an opportunity for parishioners to meet and greet each other on Friday followed by a thanksgiving Mass and a banquet on Saturday and a noon brunch after Sunday Mass.
In July the parish will again have its annual picnic and outdoor Mass at Riverdale Minipark, just north of Wainwright. The date for that event is not yet set.
"(We have the picnic) just to get the parish together for a fun day," explained Rita Pare, one of the 100th anniversary organizers. "We have a lot of children's activities and a potluck meal and I think last year we had a horseshoe tournament."
Pare said the event was held for many years but then was stopped until two years ago when Father Len Gartner brought it back.
"Parishioners very much look forward to it," Pare said. "It's a good opportunity to renew friendships and visit. We don't always have time to visit after Mass."
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