Even a circus is evangelization during Mission Metamora: pastor

Photo Caption: Father Donald Roszkowski, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Metamora and St. Elizabeth’s, Washburn, visits Francis, a 9-year-old African lion, during a circus hosted by the Metamora parish Aug. 25.

By: By Jennifer Willems

METAMORA — Evangelization comes in all shapes and sizes. As St. Mary’s Parish here recently demonstrated, it can even come in the form of a circus.

St. Mary’s hosted the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus for two performances on Aug. 25. The one-ring circus drew several hundred people to the parish grounds, where the Big Top and midway were set up in the field next to St. Mary’s School.

That’s what Father Donald Roszkowski, pastor, was hoping for when he agreed to a request from circus managers to play in Metamora.

“This is part of our Mission Metamora,” he told The Catholic Post. “This year we’re inviting the community into a deeper faith, and part of that faith is to be happy.”

Seizing the opportunity to have fun is necessary in a world that faces so much dire news every day, according to Father Roszkowski.

“It’s good to take a break from the seriousness of life — to laugh and have a good time,” he said after the Big Top was raised in the presence of the 133 students from St. Mary’s School and interested neighborhood children of all ages. Before they returned to class they were able to get a closer look at Solomon and Delilah, golden tabby Bengal tigers, who would perform with trainer Trey Key that evening.

“I love the atmosphere — it’s a family-run circus,” Father Roszkowski said.

As part of Mission Metamora, St. Mary’s held a eucharistic procession in the town square in July, had a rosary walk down one of the main roads that included signs that read “Catholic Come Home” and “St. Mary’s Welcomes You,” and sponsored a visit by Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR, vice postulator for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s cause for sainthood. Upcoming events include an ecumenical prayer service to commemorate 9/11 and a parish mission next spring.

In the meantime, Principal Ryan Bustle said the circus was “a great opportunity to get people besides us involved in St. Mary’s. It’s good to mix in some fun now and then.”

While having a lion, tigers and multicolored circus tent outside the window might be a bit of a distraction for the students, “this will be something they’ll remember for a long time.”

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