St. Francis of Assisi, Otttawa, hosts jubilee Mass this Sunday

OTTAWA — When Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, travels to Ottawa on Sunday for the Mass and dinner celebrating the 150th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, he will see what a lot of faith and a little German determination can accomplish.

Bishop Jenky will serve as the presider and homilist at the jubilee Mass, which will begin at 2 p.m. on Sept. 28. Concelebrants will include Father Gerald Meyer, pastor since 1998; Father Leo H. Gildner, pastor emeritus; and Msgr. Raymond Boyle, vicar of the Ottawa vicariate and pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish, Seneca.

Also coming for the liturgical celebration are Msgr. Jerome Ham, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Streator; Msgr. James Swaner, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Utica; Father Philip Halfacre, pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish and administrator of St. Mary’s Parish, both in Ottawa, and Father Lourduraj Ignatius, parochial vicar; Father David Kipfer, pastor, and Father Ronald Dodd, parochial vicar, of St. Columba’s Parish, Ottawa; and Father Kevin Gorman, OSB, and Father Gabriel Bullock, OSB, both of St. Bede Abbey, Peru.

Following the Mass there will be a reception and dinner at Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club in LaSalle for those who have made reservations. The daylong celebration concludes a year of anniversary events, which included a May crowning, a pancake breakfast and an ice cream social.

“We wanted to thank God for his graces over the course of many, many years,” Father Meyer said. “For our theme, we’re paraphrasing the words of St. Francis: ‘Lord, make us instruments of your peace.'”

“The people here have a very fine Catholic spirit,” Father Meyer said. “Our parish is a little bit older, but we have an active Altar and Rosary Society and an active basketball program and cheerleading program for the CCD students. It’s a vibrant parish.”

Membership has remained steady at about 470 households, but Father Meyer said growth and new housing in Ottawa are bringing new parishioners to St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

“A lot of positive interest has been generated by the 150th anniversary,” Father Meyer said.

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