We Are One Body

Something very touching happened between our two parishes last year. A member of St. Mary’s parish asked if he could be a member of St. Patrick’s 100th Anniversary Committee. He’s a long-time Coxsackie resident who has a great love for local history and used to work closely with the co-chair of the Anniversary Committee at what is now the LeFarge cement plant in Ravena. With their shared love of history, they knew that St. Patrick’s began as a mission of St. Mary’s in the 1850s and was established as an independent parish in 1890, so they thought it would be wise to have a St. Mary’s parishioner on the Committee who could keep those parish connections in the forefront of discussion and serve as a Coxsackie link when planning anniversary year events.

He told a lot of people at St. Mary’s that he was on the Committee for the 100th, and encouraged them to consider what their wishes would be for St. Mary’s to help celebrate this anniversary of the sister parish that was once a part of St. Mary’s.

One of the ideas they came up with blew me away: the St. Mary’s Community Life Committee, which for many years has sponsored a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner held annually in Maria Hall, suggested that, since Patrick is Ravena’s patron saint, and since this is their anniversary year, the dinner could be held this year in Ravena and involve a cooperative effort between the two parishes.

Do you realize how beautiful a gesture like that is? When many other parishes around the Diocese have had to share a pastor for the first time, they have often developed a feeling of insecurity that has led to parish rivalry. People worry that the other parish is getting more attention or is becoming a “favorite,” and respond angrily or fearfully. That’s understandable, since change is so hard and sharing requires adjusting some long-standing practices and traditions. But that makes this kind of partnership — which I had no part of and only learned about after it was already in the works — all the more amazing and impressive. It touched me deeply.

Would you like to celebrate this incredible sister-parish relationship while honoring the patron saint of Ireland and Ravena and eating a delicious dinner catered by the Quarry Restaurant? Tickets will be on sale after all the Masses this weekend at both parishes. Please come to the dinner, after the 4:30 Mass on Saturday, March 17 at the St. Patrick’s Parish Center in Ravena. Because that’s what sisters do.

With love,
Father Scott