Members of Lansing’s All Saints Parish will take a walk down memory lane — literally — to celebrate their church community’s 100th anniversary March 23.
The day will kick off with a procession starting at 10 a.m. at the approximate site of All Saints’ original church on Old Myers Road. From there it will be uphill to the church building that served as All Saints’ home from 1933-2007. Participants will then stop at the parish center that opened in 1995 before ending their trek at the current six-year-old church, located at 347 Ridge Road (Route 34B) next to the former church, where an 11 a.m. jubilee Mass is set to take place followed by a dish-to-pass luncheon.
One expected attendee with boatloads of memories is Anna Beckwith, a lifelong All Saints parishioner. Having turned 92 years old on Feb. 27, she has belonged there for nearly its entire history. Beckwith acknowledged that she’s seen many changes, but none so jarring that she ever felt compelled to go elsewhere.
"The only time I visited other churches was when we were traveling. This church has meant the whole world to me," stated Beckwith, who noted that many of her seven children, 20 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren have received sacraments through All Saints.
Festivities on March 23 will pay tribute to a parish that has enjoyed substantial growth in recent decades yet managed to preserve a sense of intimacy, according to Anne Drake and Wendy Ouellette, the 100th-anniversary committee cochairs.
"What is so special about All Saints is that it is an extension of your own family. People care about each other. We laugh together, we cry together, we help each other out," said Drake, a lifelong parishioner who has chaired the parish festival for 10 years, assists with several liturgical roles and is a former parish pastoral council member and religious-education teacher.
"What I enjoy most about the church and has kept me coming back is that we are one big happy family," agreed Ouellette, who joined All Saints around the time the new church opened. Ouellette, who currently volunteers in the nursery and teaches religious education for preschoolers and kindergartners, said that all of her extended family resides in Maine "so it is nice to have people here who look after you and treat you as one of their own."
In addition to the upcoming celebration, All Saints will honor its centennial throughout the year with such initiatives as an anniversary booth at the parish festival and the compilation of a history book to be unveiled on All Saints Day. Parishioners are being asked to lend photographs, stories, documents or film pertaining to the church’s history.
All Saints’ beginnings date back to the turn of the 20th century when priests from St. Bernard Parish in Scipio Center began traveling to the hamlet of Myers, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, to celebrate Mass in a house for a handful of Catholic families. This led to All Saints’ first church being opened in 1913 to serve the 12 registered Catholic families of Myers, Ludlowville and Portland Point.
"It was a small church; the choir loft may have held 10 to 15 people," Beckwith recalled, adding that "cars weren’t too readily available at that time, so a lot of people came with horse and buggy or walked to church."
Also in 1913, All Saints became a mission of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in King Ferry — an affiliation that would last 70 years. In 1933 a new church was dedicated at the corner of Myers and Ridge roads, and Beckwith was confirmed there shortly afterward.
"When the second church was being built, the priest held some of the confirmation classes on the pile of lumber that was to be the church," said Beckwith, who formerly served on All Saints’ parish pastoral council and also led a faith-sharing group for many years.
In 1983 ministerial responsibility for All Saints was transferred to Ithaca’s St. Catherine of Siena Parish. A 1993 snowstorm collapsed the roof of a trailer that had housed meeting rooms and religious-education classrooms, but strong financial support from parishioners enabled a new parish center to open just two years later. It includes a large meeting room, several classrooms and a kitchen.Tags: Tompkins County News