Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were specially invited to Holy Family Parish, Marinette, Wisconsin for their family picnic. It was a heart-warming, delightful visit. Although Sister Theresa Feldkamp, Sister Maria Guadalupe Martinez Lopez, Postulant Michelle Ozuna and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan left Manitowoc under cloudy and rainy skies, Marinette was cloudless and pleasant in all ways. Greeting us at the church doors for the Sunday Morning Mass were enthusiastic porters that were just a wee bit taller than the front door handles.
This was not the only place where children lead so beautifully with adult mentorship. Later, after Mass, students were the game leaders assisting others of their peers, or those younger than themselves, to enjoy some fun entertainment that included simple prizes.
In the liturgy there was also a special blessing for children. We watched the students bring their proudly-swung backpacks to be blessed at this beginning of the school year.
Indeed, the timing of the pastor Father Celestine Byekwaso’s birthday was perfect for this Eucharist feast, too. The singing and the camaraderie of the parish members must have filled a place in Father’s heart on this day considering many of his own family live in places far away.
Another grace of this visit was hearing the Polka band musicians from Pulaski, Wisconsin. The lead singer was someone one of our Sisters directed at a Busy Student Retreat at the University of Stevens Point in the past. It is always good to witness a young adult with a sense of service who credits mentors during college years and beyond for their encouragement. Of course, spending moments with Sister Patricia Sevcik’s sister and family and others who remembered others of our Sisters over the years (e.g. Sister Mary Hale, Sister Mary de Sales Hoffman) made for a truly memorable Sunday.
Our last stop was at the parish’s perpetual adoration chapel. This precious spot is an intimate reminder of all of our ‘universal call to holiness’. Here the focus is Jesus. As more than one parish member shared, “Eucharistic adoration is one of the ways in which the presence of Christ continues in our Church following the celebration of Mass. It helps to sanctify everything we do.” May the Holy Family and all the saints, including the parish members who are now in heaven, continue to watch with tender care over this Community of love.