September 9th, 2011 by Jim & Mary Brown

 

Sister Parish Project

2009 – 2010

This report will represent a summary of Sister Parish activities for OLQA to date.  On August 1, 2009, Fr. Steve Anderson and Doug Veverka attended a Sr. Parish Day workshop at Our Lady of the Lake, Edinboro, PA.  The information regarding the Sr. Parish Project through the Mission of Friendship was reviewed and a recommendation was made at our October 15, 2009 Parish Council meeting that our church participate in the Project.  Mary and Jim Brown agreed to coordinate the efforts and a Sr. Parish Core Committee was formed to include representatives from each of the church existing committees.  

In October, a Mexican-themed dinner was hosted by Jim and Mary at Father Steve’s home to introduce the Committee to the specifics of the Sister Parish Project.  Pat Marshall, Director of Diocesan and International Missions, was our guest and provided the group with an overview of the Mission of Friendship and in particular, the Sister Parish Project.  She congratulated the group on our interest in the Project and our proactive approach in forming a Core Committee.  She agreed to help us establish a Sister Parish in the Yucatan and to return to OLQA in the Spring, to introduce the Project to parishioners at each mass. 

During the next month, Leslie Conlin, Parish Council secretary, researched the history of our church’s involvement with a Sister Parish in the Yucatan.  It was discovered that OLQA was affiliated with a Sister Parish in Tekit, Mexico 30 years ago.  The priest from that parish at the time was Fr. Carillo.    We were to later find out that our “new Sister Parish would be our old Sister Parish”, St. Anthony of Padua, in Tekit, Mexico.  The current pastor is Father Bartolome.   

In January of 2010, Pat Marshall traveled to the Yucatan and she took our Parish Directory with her.  This directory contains an overview of our parish activities, photos of our parishioners and church, and of our pastor, Fr. Steve Anderson.  Pat presented this to our “new” Sister Parish pastor, Fr. Bartolome. 

During the months of February and March, a scrapbook was developed which included photos and descriptions of the activities of various church groups within our parish.  The intent was to send this to our Sister Parish with the next available courier.  We were certain that the photo of our “parish pet” Gabriel, would be enjoyed the most!

Mary and Jim offered to speak to all church committees regarding the Sister Parish Project in order to heighten awareness of the Project and to help determine ways that each group could support the effort.  On April 6, 2010 Mary was invited to speak to the Altar and Rosary Society at their monthly meeting.  Information was distributed to this group and suggestions were made by the group on how to increase awareness of the Project in the parish.

Over the week-end of May 14-15, at each mass, Pat Marshall spoke to the parishioners of OLQA about the Sister Parish Project.  She was accompanied by Cari Serafin, who is Pat’s counterpart in the Yucatan.    Pat announced to our parishioners that our Sister Parish would be St. Anthony of Padua, again after 30 years.  We officially began our renewed partnership.  At this mass, we began to include our Sister Parish in the Prayers of the Faithful.  We will remember our Sister Parish each Sunday in this way.  In the near future, a sketch of one of the mission churches will be prominent on our weekly bulletin, along with factual information about the church or area.

During the month of July, a percentage of our Sunday contributions were tithed to our Sr. Parish.  In addition, a Tequila raffle basket was used to generate additional donations to St. Anthony’s of Padua.  The basket was raffled off at our annual church dinner on August 1. To accompany the check, Fr. Steve wrote a letter of introduction to Fr. Bartolome, which was translated into Spanish by a parishioner.  This letter and check will be delivered to our Sr. Parish via the Mission of Friendship, Erie, Pa.

On August 7, 2010, Mary and Jim attended the Sister Parish Day, hosted by the Mission of Friendship at Holy Rosary Parish in Erie.  The theme of the day was:  Sister Parishes: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  The activities of the day included sharing by individuals on Sister Parish experiences, especially visits to the Sister Parishes.  Many exciting ideas on how to develop the Project in the parish have been brought back to OLQA by way of a Sister Parish Idea Book.  This booklet will be shared with the Core Committee on October 4, 2010, which is the next scheduled Sr. Parish Core Committee meeting.

The Sister Parish Committee meeting was held on Oct. 4, 2010.  A review of activities year to date was presented.  The Idea Book, received at the Sister Parish Day, was distributed.  Several ideas will be utilized in November and December.  We will have a planning meeting after the holidays for 2011.

November 2, All Souls Day, was celebrated with evening mass honoring the parishioners that have died in the past year as well as other loved ones.  The Altar of the Dead, a Mexican tradition, was erected in the sacristy.  Parishioners were told about the tradition via a flyer in the bulletin and at mass.  They were able to place names of their departed loved ones in the bowl on the altar for remembrance in prayers.

Our annual feast day festivity, in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is on December 12.  This year, the dinner, decorations, and program will have a Mexican theme.  A replication of a Mayan hut will be on display as well as images of Our Lady of Gaudalupe and St. Anthony of Padua.  The traditional piñatas will be the center of the children’s activities along with the appearance of Mr. & Mrs. Claus.  The designated bulletin board in the social hall will have photos of our Sister Parish on display.  We will begin our fund raising efforts for future projects by raffling a basket filled with religious based articles after masses and at the dinner.  The drawing will be at the Feast Day dinner.

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