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PARISH HAPPENINGS
2nd Quarter 2007

         The Vacation Bible School this summer was hosted by the Emory United Methodist Church.  The program was an ecumenical venture of St. Paul's and Emory United Methodist Church. The VBS was held from July 23rd to July 27th from 6 to 8 each evening. The program titled SonForce Kids and was centered around outer space.

                                                    

           The National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is located in Fonda, New York. On Tuesday June 26th at 9AM approximately 15 young children and 9 adults gathered at the church parking lot for the trip to the shrine. In the parking lot Father Stephen explained to the children where they were going, what they could expect to see and that it would be a prayerful day. With that in mind, the convoy of six vehicles headed out to Deposit, then to Sidney we got on Interstate 88 towards Albany and then west on the NYS Thruway to Fonda. With only one brief rest stop, the trip was still almost 3 hours one way.
          Upon arrival and after a restroom break, Father Stephen celebrated Mass in the church that is part of the shrine. We then had a picnic lunch in the grove adjacent to the church.
           After lunch we followed the road that led up hill though the woods to the 400 year old Oak Tree where Blessed Kateri used to go and pray. Along the way we prayed the rosary. If you want a real challenge, try walking up hill in 90 degree plus heat, trying to catch your breath and say the rosary out loud all at the same time.
           We then proceeded on up the hill again, and across a field and down the other side to the spring where Blessed Kateri was baptized. Along the way Father Stephen gave us all a history lesson on the life of Blessed Kateri. Once we left the spring and got back up out of the ravine where the spring was located, the trip back was all downhill.
            The children then had a chance to visit the gift shop next to the church and then we packed up and headed home. Before we got onto the thruway we stopped at an ice cream shop that Father Stephen just happened to spot on the way in that morning. Or maybe he knew it was there from one of his previous trips. We arrived back in Hancock at around 7PM.
             You can see by the pictures below that the children ranged from the very young, to maybe about 11 or 12 years of age.  I must say, with all the travel time, all that we accomplished throughout the day, and the blazing heat I never hear a whine or saw any of the children in a bad mood, that goes for the adults also. It's a big responsibly on their part to do something like this.
             I think the children enjoyed the day and I'm sure they learned something from the experience. I know I did.
             For more information go to the Blessed Kateri web site at:
www.katerishrine.com

 

           Sunday, June 17th  four young adults from the Hancock Central School Class of 2007 were given a special blessing at the 10 AM Mass by Father Stephen. A reception was held in the Father Rausch Hall after the Mass for the graduates, as well as family and friends. The graduates are: Julia Sai Bartholomew, James Francis Caramore, Raymond Jason Miller and James Kyle White.
        We thank God for our newly ordained priests for the Diocese of Albany: Rev. Michael Cambi, Rev. Paul Catena and Rev. Thomas Lawless, who were ordained on Saturday, June 9th by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.  Father Stephen and six boys from the Family Foundation School traveled to Albany to witness the ordination.
        Frank O'Boyle passed away on June 5th after a long illness. The Funeral Mass was held on Saturday June 9th with burial in St. Paul's Cemetery. A luncheon at the Father Rausch Hall followed the services at the cemetery.
          The Bethany Ministry served a funeral luncheon on Wednesday May 30th for friends of Michael Hutzler who had passed away recently. Thursday May 31st the hall was being used for the Pre-School Graduation and the ministry could not accommodate the family and friends of John Letosky for a funeral luncheon, so food was delivered to his home. Saturday, June 2nd a breakfast luncheon was provided for the family and friends, after the graveside service that was held in St. Paul's Cemetery for John Gorshack. The week was a busy one and the efforts of the Bethany Ministry Volunteers were again appreciated by everyone.
        May 27, 2007 Marisa Smith was baptized by Fr. Stephen at the 10 AM Mass.
         Confirmation was held at St. Paul's on May 21 and a total of 20 people were confirmed. This included the Family Foundation School as well. A reception was held in the Father Rausch Hall following the Confirmation for the families, friends and the sponsors of those that were Confirmed.

           May 20th was the Crowning of Mary at St. Paul's. A large number of adults and children attended and the children of Religious Education Class participated in the crowning. Before the crowning Father Stephen blessed the Scapulars and they were given to the recent First Communicants. He told the children to wear them with honor and dignity. All the children then had a procession down the center aisle and left the flowers they were carrying for Mary Our Mother, at the base of the altar. A Crown of Flowers was placed on the head of Mary. After a decade of the rosary everyone was treated to an ice cream social at the hall.
 
          For those who may not remember Sister Caritas, a few years ago the parish raised over $25,000 to purchase a truck for the orphanage that she started in Africa. Recently, Sister Caritas made another trip to St Paul's.  This time it was to visit with the Religious Education classes.  She brought some friends with her too.  The young adults had also made a visit to Sister Caritas' "school" prior to coming to Hancock.  When they all came, they were here to help the Hancock students make quilt squares.  Sister Caritas and her friends brought the white squares with black marker designs for our students to color and make personal.  The students also wrote on another page what is special to them and drew a picture of it.  The squares will be made into a block by a wonderful person from Binghamton that will quilt them all together.  There will also be another quilt block that was created in the same manner in Binghamton.  These will all go to Africa to Sister Caritas. 
Sister Caritas also brought the names of the students in Africa and each of the Religious Education students picked a name.  The Hancock students were given a picture of all the students in Africa, shown which is their new pen pal, and given a scented bar of soap and gift bag to send to their new pen pal.  Hancock's end of the pen pal system also put a note in the bags for the new friend. 
These will be delivered by Sister to let the kids in Africa know we are still thinking about and praying for them.
            Seven young people received their First Holy Communion during the 10 AM Mass on May 6th. They were:
Rachel Hunter--Rose Miller--Sierra May--Jarrett Horton-- Joseph Gross--Calvin Whitaker and Matthew Karcher

They posed for some pictures with Father Stephen after the Mass then a Continental Breakfast was served in the hall for these young communicants and their families.

          A Funeral Mass was held on Thursday, May 3rd for Edward Manzione, Ed was 96. The Bethany Ministries Volunteers served a luncheon to the family in the Father Rausch Hall after the funeral.
        Chris and Danielle Gross finally have a baby girl. The have four boys to go along with the new baby. Sarah Elizabeth was Baptized at the 10 AM Mass April 29th.
        Sunday April 29th at the 8:00 AM Mass, Marci Persbacker and Brian Shofkom were formally engaged. The young couple will also be confirmed at St. Paul's in May. Marci also received her First Holy Communion at this Mass.
        Saturday April 14th at the 5 PM Mass Father Stephen Baptized two more young people. They were Chloe Naoine Bergman and Maris Olivia Bergman.
       The Community Easter Egg Hunt was held after the 9:00 AM Mass on Easter Sunday. The Easter Bunny made an appearance and the little kids enjoyed locating all the eggs that were put out for them to find. The little ones, as well as the adults enjoyed a continental breakfast at the Father Rausch Hall.

        Holy Week started the second quarter 2007 and St. Paul's became a flurry of activity. Preparing for the Holy Triduum takes a combined effort of many dedicated volunteers. At the Easter Vigil Mass three people were Baptized: Cliff Johnston, Geoffrey Westby, and Rebecca Haltom. They were also Confirmed, as well as Lisa Robinson. Valerie Rizzo and Ryan Bentz from the Family Foundation School received their 1st Communion also.