Bishop Matthew H. Clark visited Clifton Springs Nov. 19 to celebrate a Mass in honor of the 110th anniversary of St. Felix Church. The anniversary Mass took place the afternoon before the feast day of St. Felix of Valois, the church’s patron saint.
There has been a Catholic church in the village since 1856, when St. Agnes Parish was founded on Stephens Street, said Sister of St. Joseph Joan Sobala, pastoral administrator of the St. Felix/St. Francis Parish Cluster in Clifton Springs and Phelps. In 1895 Father Felix O’Hanlon, pastor of St. Agnes, and his parishioners laid the cornerstone for a new church nearby on Hibbard Avenue. This church became known as St. Felix Church.
Many descendants of the original parishioners of St. Agnes and St. Felix were present for the anniversary Mass and ensuing reception, Sister Sobala said. Many people especially enjoyed Bishop Clark’s homily, she noted.
“The bishop did a fascinating thing. He wove together his three recent trips,” she said.
Bishop Clark talked about his recent journey to Rome, where he encountered the international church; his trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with his fellow American bishops and encountered the national church; and his trip to Clifton Springs, where he encountered the local church, Sister Sobala said.
After the Mass, parishioners looked at early photographs and shared stories of their experiences in the parish, Sister Sobala said.