Archive for the 'Sister Parish Project' Category

Sister Parish Visit

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Sister Parish Visit:  December 8, 2012 to December 14, 2012

Travelers:  Mary & Jim Brown, Pat & Bill Pineo, Carolyn Melby, Bonnie Smith, Samantha Harrison.

On the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Steve Anderson concluded the mass with a special commissioning ceremony sending the seven travelers off with prayers, blessings, and a special assignment.  Each of them were presented with a cross to wear on their shirt and one to give away to a “new friend” that they met during their travels.  They were charged with the instruction to bring back the story of that new friend.

 

 

On December 8, 2012, these representatives of OLQA parish traveled to Mexico to participate in the celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe with our sister parish in Tekit.  Arriving in Merida, the capital of the Yucatan, the group was met by Ron Van Dyken and Trish Pipkin from the Mision de Amistad, Maty Puch and her son Juavier, and another friend from Conneaut Lake, Robin Copeland.  She arrived in Merida the day before the rest.  Robin is a frequent visitor to the region and spent time volunteering at the Mission after high school.  The group checked into the Hotel Montejo on Calle 57.  This Spanish colonial hotel was one block from the main plaza and the Cathedral del San Ilfonso (circa 1540 ac).

After breakfast of huevos, toast, coffee, and fruit at the hotel, the next day was spent attending mass at the cathedral and slowly strolling the main plaza.

  At the cathedral San del Ilfonso.

On Sundays the plaza is filled with local vendors selling their unique hand-made merchandise and home-made food.  The group explored, made purchases and enjoyed the beautiful and historic buildings.   The evening meal was eaten at Poncho’s, a local restaurant with a varied and delicious yucatecan menu.  The day was complete after a horse drawn carriage ride through the historic district of the city.

On Monday, the group ventured north of the city to visit the Mayan ruins of Dzibichaltun, which translated means:  “the place where writing is on stones”.  With Robin’s experienced help, we boarded a public bus, where for only 10 pesos we took an interesting ride with the locals, who were traveling to and from work.  We spent the day walking through the ruins and examining the Mayan structures.  These temples and altars dated prior to the 1500 century, before the invasion by the Spanish conquistadors.  This site is one of many ruins throughout the Yucatan and represents the cultural heritage of the Mayans.

Bonnie has her OLQA hat on!

 

A few adventuresome members of the group swam in the cenote (sink hole), which was formed by underground water.  This water is purified by running through the limestone ground and is the home of interesting fish and plant life.

 

 

                                                                    Carolyn taking a break

House of the Seven Dolls                 

 

                                                                  Samantha and Pat climbing the ruins.

 

After a long day exploring the ruins, we traveled back to the city on the bus, which was running on Mexican time (2 hours late).  We were very ready for the evening meal which was provided by Maty, Juavier and his girlfriend, who is a caterer.  They brought the food to the Hotel Montejo and we ate in the hotel cafeteria.  It included tortilla, fresh fruit, guacamole, and a memorable three milk cake.  Excellent!

December 11, the day before the feast day, we traveled to Tekit, to visit our sister parish, St. Anthony of Padua.  We were driven there in the Mission van by Ron Von Dyken, a volunteer at the mission.  Ron was immeasurable help to us throughout our visit to Tekit.  He alerted us to local customs and made sure that we were able to maximize our experiences.  Jose Tzuc, our interpreter, joined us and assisted with communication throughout our visit to Tekit.  Most of the people of Tekit speak Mayan, which differs from the typical Spanish language.

Jose introducing Bonnie and Carolyn         The kids loved Sam!

 

We enjoyed lunch at the home of Francisco (Pancho) and were touched by his hospitality and that of his family.  We were surrounded by the children of the family who were friendly and curious about the American visitors. The food was typical corn tortilla with turkey filling, soupa de lima, fresh fruit, and cold drinks.

The meal was eaten on the family’s large porch, which also held an altar with a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The altar was adorned with many fresh flowers, candles, and offerings of food to Our Lady.  It was apparent that Pancho held a respected position in the village of Tekit and in particular with the parish of St. Anthony’s.  His neighbors came in and out while we were having lunch and were very friendly.  The children approached us and were interested in everything about us, in particular the crosses that we had on our shirts.  One dimpled girl, Belem, was irresistible and quickly scored a gift of a cross from Bonnie’s shirt.  Samantha gave her pin to Belem’s cousin, Jazim.  His brother, Juan Luis received a cross from Jim.

                       The children were the center of all activity. 

 

Following lunch, Pancho took us on a walking tour of the village of Tekit, pointing out places of historical and cultural interest. Many of the locals still live in thatched roof huts, complete with hammocks for sleeping.  Other homes were simple stucco structures painted beautiful bright and pastel colors.  At one of the huts, a man was selling fresh coconuts for 7 pesos.  Samantha bought one and got to try fresh coconut milk for the first time.  Frequently seen were stray dogs that seemed to belong to no one and everyone at the same time.  We ended up at the cathedral and took our first look at our sister parish, St. Anthony of Padua.  This beautiful old church is the hub of the village and was open to all.  Since this was the day before the feast day, the altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe was decorated extensively and many people were coming in to pray.  Of particular note were the many young people, praying in groups, asking for grace prior to their feast day run.

Getting ready to run.

Next we checked into our rooms at Hotel Pasoda, which was across the street from the church.  This building, constructed before the Spanish invasion, housed a public bar downstairs and sleeping rooms upstairs.  As we checked into our rooms, we were a curiosity to the locals and attracted many friendly smiles and waves.  Already evident in the public square in front of the church, were groups of young people gathering and getting ready to participate in the Antorcha.

We returned to Pancho’s for dinner that evening and found the dining room in his home ready for us.  Once again, his family prepared a delicious meal and served us with great hospitality.  After dinner, songs were led by two members of our group, Carolyn and Pat.  Following the singing, members of Pancho’s immediate family, relatives, and neighbors arrived, taking seats on the porch in front of the altar to Our Lady.               Pat and Carolyn: Life of the Party!

    Approximately 50 people attended this prayer service at Pancho’s house.  We were treated as honored guests.  Pat and Carolyn led the group in songs to Our Lady.   After two hours of prayer and song, the people processed through the town.  The procession was led by Jim and Ron, who were carrying a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There were many neighborhood parties to celebrate the pending feast day.

        Jim and Ron leading the way.

On the morning of the feast day, we watched teams of runners entering the town square in front of the church.  They were preparing for the traditional run with torches, ending at the church.  Some groups were riding bicycles.  All were wearing specific jerseys indicating their village of origin.  The young people were carrying large pictures of Our Lady or a large crucifix strapped to their back.  All participants were singing or chanting to Our Lady.  Each group went to the church and prayed before their run.  Samantha and Ron ran to the outskirts of the town to meet up with the other team members.

The purpose of the Antorcha is to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe for her role as the spiritual mother of the people.  There were about 25 people in this group ranging from children to elderly.  Pancho and Sam ran with the little children.  Pancho walked with an elderly lady who was supported by him and her cane. They stopped in several churches along the way to pray to Our Lady in front of her altar.  Lunch was in a wonderful park with a playground, foosball tables, and a cenote.  They spent the day taking turns carrying the torch and running to the village, where they ultimately ended at the church.

Samantha running with the torch.

The rest of our group went to Pancho’s for breakfast.

From there we were taken on a tour of the other parishes in nearby villages by Padre Bartolome and Jose.  The first stop was in Mama, at the church of Our Lady of Acincione.  This is a parish that Padre Bartolome also serves.  It is a beautiful, very old church.  Many of the Mayan men spend their day on the church grounds considering the church a comfortable gathering place.

Carolyn and friend.                                Our Lady of Acincione

We then went to the village of Muni, and visited the church of St. Michael the Arch Angel.  Padre also says mass at this church and tends to the spiritual needs of the people. Due to time constraints, we were not able to visit St. John the Baptist, in Sabbache.

At the end of the tour, Padre took the group to a shop in the town of Muni so that we could buy the local wares.  The shop was filled with hand embroidered clothing specific to the Mayan culture.  We all had an opportunity to select items to take home to friends and family.  We were all amazed that Padre took the time to let us shop on this very important feast day.

We returned to Tekit and had lunch at a home/restaurant of Lupita’s.  It was her birthday and a party was planned for her.  She was serenaded by a young man with a beautiful voice playing a guitar.  As the celebration continued, she decided that she wanted to dance with Jim.  The dance went on an eternity and Jim was meeting the challenge quite well.

         

Bonnie was so taken with the spirit and hospitality of Lupita, she gave her cross to her.  We had a great time and felt so welcomed.

That evening, all the runners were pouring into the town square in front of the church.  The entire area (several acres) was filled with families, runners, children, and dogs.  In the time leading up to the feast day mass, groups of runners cheered and sang to Our Lady, young people took the microphone and sang, Pancho led prayers, and we all prepared ourselves for the mass.  When Padre Bartolome arrived, he gave a special welcome to “the friends from Conneaut Lake”.  Mass was beautiful and the singing went on and on.  Visitors from other villages brought gifts to the altar.  The gifts consisted of food and other necessities to give to parishioners in need. The mass concluded with a procession around the square led by youth carrying a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It is difficult to describe the emotion in the crowd.  Everyone was engaged in joyful worship to their “very own” Lady.

Pancho leading prayers             People filling square for mass

 

Waiting for mass to begin       

The evening ended on a spiritual and emotional high at Pancho’s home.  At the dinner, he honored us by presenting Jim and Ron each a torch that was carried during the run.  The night ended with heartfelt good- byes expressed by the travelers and hosts.

The morning of December 13, we checked out of the Hotel Pasado.  The cost for 2 nights, 4 rooms was $2000 pesos or $155.00 dollars.  We paid our bill and proceeded to Padre Bartolome’s for breakfast.  His assistant prepared a wonderful meal and Padre served us.

Breakfast at Padre Bartolome’s

.

After breakfast, he took us on a tour of the church office and told us (via Jose) about the services provided by the church.  One room was filled with the gifts that were brought to the mass the previous night.  Volunteers had already started to divide the donations into boxes for individual families in the town.  There was also a gift shop with items for children priced very inexpensively.  The similarity between what they were doing and what our own Samaritans at OLQA do was hard to miss.  It was at this time that we presented Padre with the gift bags that we had prepared for the children of the parish.  He stated that he would distribute the bags over the Christmas holiday.  We also presented him with an afghan, which depicted scenes of the Conneaut Lake area, as a token of our appreciation of his hospitality. Padre escorted us into the church and he took a seat at what was obviously his pride and joy, the organ.  He told us the story of how he first saw this organ in Mexico City and immediately wanted it.  However, the cost of the organ ($20,000) was out of the question for his parish in Tekit.  Having heard about the organ and Padre’s desire to have one at St. Anthony’s, a local “town official” donated the deposit of $5,000. Many fundraisers later, the balance was paid off.  We were treated to a concert by Padre Bartolome, which included singing by the group.  Thank goodness for Pat and Carolyn!  Carolyn also played the organ beautifully.

Carolyn and Padre at the organ.

 

It was time to leave Tekit to return to Merida.  In 2 days, we had bonded with the people of our Sister Parish.  We felt the kindred spirit of people united in faith.  It seemed very likely that we would return and encourage other parishioners to have this experience.  We expressed our gratitude to Padre Bartolome, Francisco (Pancho), Jose, and Ron and encouraged them to allow us to return the hospitality. For that group to make a trip to Conneaut Lake would complete the circle of our cultural and spiritual exchange.  There are obstacles to this plan, but possibly they are not insurmountable.

December 14, 2012 the visit was over and the group headed to the airport to fly back home.  What a blessing to have this experience together.  We hope to share this experience with our own parish community with pictures and words.  But we realize that the best way to understand the faith and commitment to Our Lady, in the hearts of the people of Tekit, is to witness it firsthand.

Our Trip to Visit Our Sister Parish (12/08/12 – 12/14/12)

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Sister Parish Visit:  December 8, 2012 to December 14, 2012

Travelers:  Mary & Jim Brown, Pat & Bill Pineo, Carolyn Melby, Bonnie Smith, Samantha Harrison.

On the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Steve Anderson concluded the mass with a special commissioning ceremony sending the seven travelers off with prayers, blessings, and a special assignment.  Each of them were presented with a cross to wear on their shirt and one to give away to a “new friend” that they met during their travels.  They were charged with the instruction to bring back the story of that new friend.

 

 

On December 8, 2012, these representatives of OLQA parish traveled to Mexico to participate in the celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe with our sister parish in Tekit.  Arriving in Merida, the capital of the Yucatan, the group was met by Ron Van Dyken and Trish Pipkin from the Mision de Amistad, Maty Puch and her son Juavier, and another friend from Conneaut Lake, Robin Copeland.  She arrived in Merida the day before the rest.  Robin is a frequent visitor to the region and spent time volunteering at the Mission after high school.  The group checked into the Hotel Montejo on Calle 57.  This Spanish colonial hotel was one block from the main plaza and the Cathedral del San Ilfonso (circa 1540 ac).

After breakfast of huevos, toast, coffee, and fruit at the hotel, the next day was spent attending mass at the cathedral and slowly strolling the main plaza.

  At the cathedral San del Ilfonso.

On Sundays the plaza is filled with local vendors selling their unique hand-made merchandise and home-made food.  The group explored, made purchases and enjoyed the beautiful and historic buildings.   The evening meal was eaten at Poncho’s, a local restaurant with a varied and delicious yucatecan menu.  The day was complete after a horse drawn carriage ride through the historic district of the city.

On Monday, the group ventured north of the city to visit the Mayan ruins of Dzibichaltun, which translated means:  “the place where writing is on stones”.  With Robin’s experienced help, we boarded a public bus, where for only 10 pesos we took an interesting ride with the locals, who were traveling to and from work.  We spent the day walking through the ruins and examining the Mayan structures.  These temples and altars dated prior to the 1500 century, before the invasion by the Spanish conquistadors.  This site is one of many ruins throughout the Yucatan and represents the cultural heritage of the Mayans.

Bonnie has her OLQA hat on!

 

A few adventuresome members of the group swam in the cenote (sink hole), which was formed by underground water.  This water is purified by running through the limestone ground and is the home of interesting fish and plant life.

 

 

                                                                    Carolyn taking a break

House of the Seven Dolls                 

 

                                                                  Samantha and Pat climbing the ruins.

 

After a long day exploring the ruins, we traveled back to the city on the bus, which was running on Mexican time (2 hours late).  We were very ready for the evening meal which was provided by Maty, Juavier and his girlfriend, who is a caterer.  They brought the food to the Hotel Montejo and we ate in the hotel cafeteria.  It included tortilla, fresh fruit, guacamole, and a memorable three milk cake.  Excellent!

December 11, the day before the feast day, we traveled to Tekit, to visit our sister parish, St. Anthony of Padua.  We were driven there in the Mission van by Ron Von Dyken, a volunteer at the mission.  Ron was immeasurable help to us throughout our visit to Tekit.  He alerted us to local customs and made sure that we were able to maximize our experiences.  Jose Tzuc, our interpreter, joined us and assisted with communication throughout our visit to Tekit.  Most of the people of Tekit speak Mayan, which differs from the typical Spanish language.

Jose introducing Bonnie and Carolyn         The kids loved Sam!

 

We enjoyed lunch at the home of Francisco (Pancho) and were touched by his hospitality and that of his family.  We were surrounded by the children of the family who were friendly and curious about the American visitors. The food was typical corn tortilla with turkey filling, soupa de lima, fresh fruit, and cold drinks.

The meal was eaten on the family’s large porch, which also held an altar with a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The altar was adorned with many fresh flowers, candles, and offerings of food to Our Lady.  It was apparent that Pancho held a respected position in the village of Tekit and in particular with the parish of St. Anthony’s.  His neighbors came in and out while we were having lunch and were very friendly.  The children approached us and were interested in everything about us, in particular the crosses that we had on our shirts.  One dimpled girl, Belem, was irresistible and quickly scored a gift of a cross from Bonnie’s shirt.  Samantha gave her pin to Belem’s cousin, Jazim.  His brother, Juan Luis received a cross from Jim.

                       The children were the center of all activity. 

 

Following lunch, Pancho took us on a walking tour of the village of Tekit, pointing out places of historical and cultural interest. Many of the locals still live in thatched roof huts, complete with hammocks for sleeping.  Other homes were simple stucco structures painted beautiful bright and pastel colors.  At one of the huts, a man was selling fresh coconuts for 7 pesos.  Samantha bought one and got to try fresh coconut milk for the first time.  Frequently seen were stray dogs that seemed to belong to no one and everyone at the same time.  We ended up at the cathedral and took our first look at our sister parish, St. Anthony of Padua.  This beautiful old church is the hub of the village and was open to all.  Since this was the day before the feast day, the altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe was decorated extensively and many people were coming in to pray.  Of particular note were the many young people, praying in groups, asking for grace prior to their feast day run.

Getting ready to run.

Next we checked into our rooms at Hotel Pasoda, which was across the street from the church.  This building, constructed before the Spanish invasion, housed a public bar downstairs and sleeping rooms upstairs.  As we checked into our rooms, we were a curiosity to the locals and attracted many friendly smiles and waves.  Already evident in the public square in front of the church, were groups of young people gathering and getting ready to participate in the Antorcha.

We returned to Pancho’s for dinner that evening and found the dining room in his home ready for us.  Once again, his family prepared a delicious meal and served us with great hospitality.  After dinner, songs were led by two members of our group, Carolyn and Pat.  Following the singing, members of Pancho’s immediate family, relatives, and neighbors arrived, taking seats on the porch in front of the altar to Our Lady.               Pat and Carolyn: Life of the Party!

    Approximately 50 people attended this prayer service at Pancho’s house.  We were treated as honored guests.  Pat and Carolyn led the group in songs to Our Lady.   After two hours of prayer and song, the people processed through the town.  The procession was led by Jim and Ron, who were carrying a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There were many neighborhood parties to celebrate the pending feast day.

        Jim and Ron leading the way.

On the morning of the feast day, we watched teams of runners entering the town square in front of the church.  They were preparing for the traditional run with torches, ending at the church.  Some groups were riding bicycles.  All were wearing specific jerseys indicating their village of origin.  The young people were carrying large pictures of Our Lady or a large crucifix strapped to their back.  All participants were singing or chanting to Our Lady.  Each group went to the church and prayed before their run.  Samantha and Ron ran to the outskirts of the town to meet up with the other team members.

The purpose of the Antorcha is to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe for her role as the spiritual mother of the people.  There were about 25 people in this group ranging from children to elderly.  Pancho and Sam ran with the little children.  Pancho walked with an elderly lady who was supported by him and her cane. They stopped in several churches along the way to pray to Our Lady in front of her altar.  Lunch was in a wonderful park with a playground, foosball tables, and a cenote.  They spent the day taking turns carrying the torch and running to the village, where they ultimately ended at the church.

Samantha running with the torch.

The rest of our group went to Pancho’s for breakfast.

From there we were taken on a tour of the other parishes in nearby villages by Padre Bartolome and Jose.  The first stop was in Mama, at the church of Our Lady of Acincione.  This is a parish that Padre Bartolome also serves.  It is a beautiful, very old church.  Many of the Mayan men spend their day on the church grounds considering the church a comfortable gathering place.

Carolyn and friend.                                Our Lady of Acincione

We then went to the village of Muni, and visited the church of St. Michael the Arch Angel.  Padre also says mass at this church and tends to the spiritual needs of the people. Due to time constraints, we were not able to visit St. John the Baptist, in Sabbache.

At the end of the tour, Padre took the group to a shop in the town of Muni so that we could buy the local wares.  The shop was filled with hand embroidered clothing specific to the Mayan culture.  We all had an opportunity to select items to take home to friends and family.  We were all amazed that Padre took the time to let us shop on this very important feast day.

We returned to Tekit and had lunch at a home/restaurant of Lupita’s.  It was her birthday and a party was planned for her.  She was serenaded by a young man with a beautiful voice playing a guitar.  As the celebration continued, she decided that she wanted to dance with Jim.  The dance went on an eternity and Jim was meeting the challenge quite well.

         

Bonnie was so taken with the spirit and hospitality of Lupita, she gave her cross to her.  We had a great time and felt so welcomed.

That evening, all the runners were pouring into the town square in front of the church.  The entire area (several acres) was filled with families, runners, children, and dogs.  In the time leading up to the feast day mass, groups of runners cheered and sang to Our Lady, young people took the microphone and sang, Pancho led prayers, and we all prepared ourselves for the mass.  When Padre Bartolome arrived, he gave a special welcome to “the friends from Conneaut Lake”.  Mass was beautiful and the singing went on and on.  Visitors from other villages brought gifts to the altar.  The gifts consisted of food and other necessities to give to parishioners in need. The mass concluded with a procession around the square led by youth carrying a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It is difficult to describe the emotion in the crowd.  Everyone was engaged in joyful worship to their “very own” Lady.

Pancho leading prayers             People filling square for mass

 

Waiting for mass to begin       

The evening ended on a spiritual and emotional high at Pancho’s home.  At the dinner, he honored us by presenting Jim and Ron each a torch that was carried during the run.  The night ended with heartfelt good- byes expressed by the travelers and hosts.

The morning of December 13, we checked out of the Hotel Pasado.  The cost for 2 nights, 4 rooms was $2000 pesos or $155.00 dollars.  We paid our bill and proceeded to Padre Bartolome’s for breakfast.  His assistant prepared a wonderful meal and Padre served us.

Breakfast at Padre Bartolome’s

.

After breakfast, he took us on a tour of the church office and told us (via Jose) about the services provided by the church.  One room was filled with the gifts that were brought to the mass the previous night.  Volunteers had already started to divide the donations into boxes for individual families in the town.  There was also a gift shop with items for children priced very inexpensively.  The similarity between what they were doing and what our own Samaritans at OLQA do was hard to miss.  It was at this time that we presented Padre with the gift bags that we had prepared for the children of the parish.  He stated that he would distribute the bags over the Christmas holiday.  We also presented him with an afghan, which depicted scenes of the Conneaut Lake area, as a token of our appreciation of his hospitality. Padre escorted us into the church and he took a seat at what was obviously his pride and joy, the organ.  He told us the story of how he first saw this organ in Mexico City and immediately wanted it.  However, the cost of the organ ($20,000) was out of the question for his parish in Tekit.  Having heard about the organ and Padre’s desire to have one at St. Anthony’s, a local “town official” donated the deposit of $5,000. Many fundraisers later, the balance was paid off.  We were treated to a concert by Padre Bartolome, which included singing by the group.  Thank goodness for Pat and Carolyn!  Carolyn also played the organ beautifully.

Carolyn and Padre at the organ.

 

It was time to leave Tekit to return to Merida.  In 2 days, we had bonded with the people of our Sister Parish.  We felt the kindred spirit of people united in faith.  It seemed very likely that we would return and encourage other parishioners to have this experience.  We expressed our gratitude to Padre Bartolome, Francisco (Pancho), Jose, and Ron and encouraged them to allow us to return the hospitality. For that group to make a trip to Conneaut Lake would complete the circle of our cultural and spiritual exchange.  There are obstacles to this plan, but possibly they are not insurmountable.

December 14, 2012 the visit was over and the group headed to the airport to fly back home.  What a blessing to have this experience together.  We hope to share this experience with our own parish community with pictures and words.  But we realize that the best way to understand the faith and commitment to Our Lady, in the hearts of the people of Tekit, is to witness it firsthand.

 

Sister Parish Notes

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

The planning for our trip to Tekit, Mexico has begun! The first meeting was held on May 14. Hopefully, 10+ parishioners will visit our Sister Parish over the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 2012. Among the travelers will be several youth and they have agreed to participate in the “Entourche” prior to the mass on the eve of the feast day.
In an effort to defray the expense for these young travelers, a fundraising event will be taking place now through the 4th of July week-end. Please visit the M & M character at either the side or front door after mass each week-end. Help yourself to a tube of M & M’s and enjoy! Please put your Money for Mission contribution in the empty tube and return it the next week . Place it in the basket and be sure to include a prayer for our safe travel. The tube is perfect for quarters, but will certainly accommodate bills as well! Thank you for supporting our youth as they prepare to experience a new culture and participate in the festivities of our sister parish.

Parish Feast Day 2011

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

This year’s Parish Feast Day, held on December 11, 2011, was a huge success! A re-enactment of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe appearing to Juan Diego was presented by the third grade religious education class. They did a great job. A fabulous dinner, with a great assortment of casseroles accompanied by the traditional ham was enjoyed by all. A Holiday Breakfast Basket was raffled to support Sister Parish Projects and this effort raised $115.00. This was the first dinner event for the parish utilizing our new kitchen. It is really a state of the art kitchen and will serve us well for many years to come.
Watch the Sister Parish bulletin board in the months of the new year. Each month will display a poster of festivals and celebrations in Mexico, many of these observed by our own Sister Parish.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Sister Parish Project

2011

In May of 2011, a fund raising project for the Sister Parish Project included a recognition of the battle of Mexico against the French, Cinco de Mayo.  A month long event, starting with the 5th of May, involved a local restaurant, Silver Shores, contributing 10% of each bill to OLQA’s Sister Parish Project.  Silver Shores Restaurant is owned by parishioners, Sharon & Jack Slater.  They matched the amount of money raised for a total of $330.00. 

On August 6, 2011, the coordinators of Sister Parish Project, Mary & Jim Brown, attended an annual workshop for churches of Erie diocese involved in the project.  This workshop, hosted by Church of the Beloved Disciple in Grove City, Pa., was facilitated by Mission of Friendship coordinators Pat Marshall and Cari Serafin.  The theme of the day was celebrations of Mexico.  A poster presentation represented all celebrations held in the churches of Mexico.  A guest speaker, Fr. Matias of Erie, told of the unique challenges of being a pastor of a church in Mexico.  In addition, Beth Boyd, a volunteer for the Mission of Friendship, spoke about her experience in Tekit and the origination of her blog that depicts activities of our sister parish and other churches involved in the Mission of Friendship.  Her blog is:  bethboydmissionoffriendship.blogspot.com.

The church website www.olqachurch.org was updated in September to include a Sister Parish Project link.  Mary & Jim will keep the site updated with information regarding our Sister Parish, St. Anthony of Padua and activities at OLQA that raise awareness and support our Sister Parish.  The church bulletin has also been expanded in September, which will allow for additional information called: Sister Parish Notes.

In a planning meeting with Fr. Steve, it was decided to once again erect the Altar of Dead on November 2nd, All Souls Day in the sacristy.  This Mexican tradition will remind our parishioners of our Sister Parish and we will pray for our deceased family members, as well as, the deceased members of the families of St. Anthony of Padua.

A brief discussion was held regarding a potential visit to our Sister Parish in December, 2012.  It was identified as an ideal time to visit, since the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is such a significant feast day for our parish and for the people of Mexico.  Celebrations in honor of Our Lady are held throughout the month in Mexico, but especially on December 12th, her feast day.  Planning meetings will be held regarding this trip and information will be forthcoming as plans develop.

Also in the planning stages is the annual feast day dinner here at OLQA.  Help will be needed to make this dinner the special occasion it always is.  A preliminary idea is to have a reenactment of the visitation of Our Lady to Juan Diego using the religious education students as the actors.   As always, the Altar Rosary Society will be key to the success of the dinner and assistance from the Religious Education staff will be needed to engage the children of the parish in the festivities.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

 

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.