WILMINGTON — On Sunday afternoon, the St. Columbkille Parish celebrated 150 years as a faith community in Clinton County.
The archbishop of Cincinnati, the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving. Four former St. Columbkille pastors returned for the event.
During a reception following the Mass, sixth-generation parishioner Rita Haley Butcher said, “I was just real impressed. Tears came to my eyes because I thought how beautiful our church is. It’s always beautiful, but when there’s something like this it brings out the splendor of the Catholic Church.”
Of her family and the parish, she added, “It’s just a big part of our life.”
Schnurr gave the homily, or sermon. St. Columbkille Parish is an extension of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
“The history of this parish and this faith community is a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in service to God and others,” said the archbishop.
He told the faithful, “We are all part of the Lord’s plan for his kingdom. We all have a role to play in the present and future of the church, even as our parents and grandparents had a part to play in the church’s past.
“None of us is superfluous, disposable, or unimportant,” said Schnurr.
James Garland, who is bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, also participated in the celebration. He grew up in northern Clinton County in what then was the Mount Pleasant School District.
He had four brothers and two sisters, and his father was a farmer. Garland attended St. Columbkille in Wilmington.
There was religious education on Saturday afternoons and again on Sunday mornings between Masses, Garland recalled.
“My father would come out of the fields to take us kids to the Saturday afternoon instruction. And then the sisters of St. Ursuline, three of them would come and do the instruction,” said Garland.
He also recalls that Father Theodore Stuber on Sunday mornings always arranged to have cocoa and rolls for the children’s breakfast.
Garland said to him the Christian faith means salvation, happiness, doing good, following the teachings of Jesus where “you love your neighbor and bring about peace and harmony in the world, and eventually your own salvation in Heaven for all eternity. So the Christian faith means you’re headed for Heaven.”
During the worship proceedings, St. Columbkille members Judy Morris and Erin Stroebel served as lectors or readers of scripture. The Rev. Mr. Robert “Bob” Meyer, who has been a St. Columbkille deacon for 33 years, read a gospel passage.
The offertory hymn was “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “Gather the People” was a communion hymn.
The First Christian Church of Wilmington sent flowers and a letter of congratulations for the celebration.
Memorabilia of the parish’s history will remain on display for viewing in the Parish Center during July after Mass on Saturdays and Sundays (other than Independence Day weekend). To see the exhibit at other times, please call 382-2236 to make an appointment.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.
The Mass of Thanksgiving celebrants Sunday were, from left, Rev. Patrick H. Crone, Rev. R. Marc Sherlock, Rev. Mr. Robert E. Meyer, Rev. Terence A. Meehan, Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Rev. Michael J. Holloran, Rev. James M. Wedig, Most Reverend James H. Garland, Rev. Anthony R. Brausch and Rev. Mr. Robert G. Baker.
A number of young people from St. Columbkille plan to go to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in late July. World Youth Day is a worldwide encounter of youth with the pope every three years in a different country. From left in the front row on bottom step are Amy Brausch, Katie Clements and Emily Brausch; from left in the second row are Claire Fritz, Elizabeth Farr, Noah Brausch, Caleb Fritz, Geneva Ulmer and Emma Reed; from left in the third row are Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and Father Michael Holloran; and from left in the back row are Denise Reed, Ashley Clements, Amy Farr and Christie Fritz.