The parish of Our Lady of Lourdes begins the year of the centenary

Friday, June 24, 2022

IC photo/Marie Mischel

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Pr. Langes Silva, diocesan judicial vicar, presides over the June 20 mass celebrating the 100th anniversary of Notre Dame de Lourdes parish in Price.

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

PRIZE – A standing crowd for Mass and a packed parish center for the dinner that followed were visible signs of the enthusiasm of the Notre Dame de Lourdes parish community as they marked the start of their church’s centenary celebrations.

Mass and dinner on June 20 took place 100 years to the day after the completion of the existing church. The parish itself was founded in 1918.

“As the center of the Catholic community in Price, the parish has offered refreshment, consolation, comfort, guidance, formation and worship to all who have passed through its door, to their neighbors and to the local community,” said Bishop J Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general emeritus, blessing the new parish library, the first of the June 20 events.

Msgr. Fitzgerald served as a trustee of Notre Dame School from 1964 to 1968; the school closed in 1999.

Following the blessing of the parish center library, Mgr. Fitzgerald blessed a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes that once stood at the school but now stands outside the parish presbytery.

The blessing of the library and statue “begins a year-long celebration of what it means to be a Eucharistic community – a community of faith and a shining example of mission and evangelization in today’s world,” said Msgr. said Fitzgerald.

After the two blessing ceremonies, the community went from the presbytery across the street to the church for the mass presided by Father Langes Silva, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Concelebrating were Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general, who served as parish priest from 1988 to 1994; Msgr. Fitzgerald; Prof. Donald Hope, who served as parish priest from 2002 to 2015; Prof. Arokia Dass David, the current parish administrator; and several other priests of the diocese. Bishop Oscar A. Solis could not be present; he texted with his regrets and blessings for the community.

Guests included Daughters of Charity Sister Frances Meyer and Sister Jo-Anne Laviolette, who both served at Notre Dame School; and Hieromonk Seraphim (Johns) of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Price.

The hieromonk Seraphim said that he and Fr. Dass David has become good friends and “our two communities try to support each other and be there for each other”.

In his homily, Fr. Dass David said that the last 100 years have been “a century of love. A journey of faith. Price Church is a great gift from the Catholics who lived here 100 years ago – their sacrifice, commitment, faith, devotion and love are expressed in this church.

Every element of the church, from the stained glass windows to the baptismal font to the confessional “has a story to tell”, he said. “I cannot imagine the number of baptisms, first communions, confirmations, marriages, sacraments of anointing and funerals that have taken place in this church. It is the place where our own people have loved, cried, celebrated the most important moments of their lives.

At the start of the Mass, a brief history of the parish was read, acknowledging that the parish “reflects a mixture of many ethnic groups: French, Hispanic, Italian and Slovene make up the majority of the population”.

Further acknowledgment of this history came with the presentation of gifts. A miner’s lamp was brought forward, symbolizing that Jesus is the light of the world. A shepherd’s crozier was also brought forward to symbolize that the shepherds who built the church realized that Jesus is the Good Shepherd; an image of Our Lady of Lourdes to symbolize the importance of Mary, the Mother of God, to those who built the church; and historical objects to symbolize the generations who have continued the faith of those who built the church.

At the end of the Mass, Fr. Silva, speaking on behalf of the Bishop, noted that the event was “a celebration of each one of you, who have come here every day, every week, to feed your faith”. He thanked those present “for your presence here in this church, for your smile, for your service, for your faith. The Church cannot be without you. So I want to thank you, each one of you, for being our parishioners, for being our friends and our family.

During the dinner that followed the mass, the hieromonk Séraphin presented an icon of Our Lady, Immortal Rose, to the parish, and diptychs for the bishop and to Fr. Das David.

In his comments over dinner, Fr. Hope said the community had experienced differences over the years, “but when things were tough, we all pulled together. And those I baptized in the 80s and married in the early 2000s and those who are now my “grandchildren”, you are my family. And it’s been a privilege to spend 25 out of 100 years here with you.

Sister Frances, in her comments, said “the Daughters of Charity are praying for you and have fond memories of their time here in Price, Utah.”

The events of June 20 marked the beginning of the centennial celebration. Other events planned to celebrate 100 years of the parish include a beer festival, a centenary rosary and candlelight procession and a spiritual retreat at the start of the new year. Also in 2023, a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes is planned for the days preceding the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The parish also plans to distribute 100 trees to plant for the centenary, among other events before the closing mass on June 20, 2023. The closing celebrations will include a re-enactment of the history of Lourdes, the placement of a time capsule and the publication of a souvenir book.

The parish asked ministers who served there to send a letter about their time at Notre Dame Parish to put in the remembrance book.

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