Our Great Parish of God By: Vito Ramundo

Someone recently said to me that it will be St. Helen’s and Our Lady of Fatima until there is no one left from before the merger. On this accord, I suppose I am more fortunate than others. Fortunate because my history at Union Street, the better name to use,  dates back to the 80’s and into the beginning of the 90’s.  I spent two decades in Las Vegas, tending to my parents and sisters, when I knew it was time to come home.  My return has made me the new kid on the block.

There were a lot of great places to worship when I returned. I have had a history with a few other parishes along the way.  None of which was Rosa Road, the better name to use. Union Street became my most comfortable house of worship once again, my “home base”. This feeling of comfort, I am sure, is the very reason that most of the parishioners go solely to their own home bases.

When I had the good fortune to attend my first ever mass at Rosa Rd, I was amazed. It has an intimacy, a closeness that is breath-taking. The WORD carries so well in this majestic House of God. The music is upbeat, the parishioners friendly, even the priests rest and meditate down near the people. The organist and the announcements are close enough to reach out and touch. The choir, while clad in their gowns, raise their voices from a gently raised platform.

The social atmosphere after the mass is great.  They have doughnuts and conversation, a tradition well entrenched in this half of our parish. The offices and the grounds, used for picnics, carnivals and of course the blessings of the animals, are more strong attributes of Rosa Road.

It is sounding like I have been converted from my old home base of Union Street. Not so fast. Union Street has the beautiful stain-glassed windows, the school, and the open spaces that allow so many faithful people to assemble. Periodically, the children from the school arrive at Mass and use their voices to enhance the Mass. Also special are the celebrations of Christmas, Easter, and the special event when all the teachers in the diocese attended one of the dwindling appearances of Bishop Hubbard as he prepares for his retirement. The P.A. System recently upgraded to bring the voices from the choir to all the areas of this grand old building. The carefully orchestrated movement of the readers and the Psalmist is addicting. I love the priests, during homilies, traveling the isles and enlightening us with their words, which carries to all corners of this half of our parish. Finally, one of my favorite events occurs when all the Eucharistic Ministers begin converging on God’s Altar, following the peace greeting and during the “Lamb of God”. They come from all different directions to lend their hands in the celebration of the centerpiece of our faith, the Body and Blood of our Lord.

So I conclude, if you feel an urge to proclaim you belong to either of the old parishes instead of to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the real name, in honor our most worthy patron saint, then I suggest you wander from your own home base and experience the other half of your parish. Maybe you will see what has made this whole parish my new home base and why I love the beauty of both of these Houses of God. We are a truly great Parish of God.

One response

  1. What a wonderful description of how both parishes bring JOY. I was married walking down the long aisle of St. Helen’s which is gone now, but I’ll never forget that. I love the 1/2 circle around the altar, the beautiful windows and the way light streams through them, as a young family is encircled for baptism. I feel the sadness of the martyrdom of Issac Jogues and his fellow blackrobes when I’m in the chapel. But, as Vito says, the beauty of the wooden design at “Fatima,” is peaceful, now the lovely statue of Our Lady is joined by the new St. Kateri portrait and now a prayer path in the courtyard. The STORY of Fatima will always be with me as Kateri’s STORY is in both locations. Thank you to all who helped make the transition and who continue to bring us together in worship, song, play and Faith Formation at all levels. This parish, on Rosa or Union is home to me as well.

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