Parishes' friendship continues with Lenten event - Catholic Courier

Parishes’ friendship continues with Lenten event

ROCHESTER — Dressed all in black with a white shawl hanging over his shoulders to represent Jesus’ resurrection, David Schmidt stood completely still before the more than 50 people gathered March 4 at the parish hall at Our Lady of the Americas Church.
The room was silent except for a recorded reflection that was played along with a recording of the song "Were You There when He Rose to a New Life?" by Aaron Neville.
David, 13, was one of the students from the parish’s first-year confirmation class who acted as living statues for a Stations of the Cross presentation during a Lenten soup supper. Their teacher, Elizabeth Johnston, helped the children get into place, and they would remain there while the reflection and song played.
The youth group from the former Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church — which along with Holy Redeemer/St. Francis Xavier and Corpus Christi merged last year to form Our Lady of the Americas — had performed a pantomime of the stations several years ago, Johnston noted. Our Lady of the Americas decided to try such a performance with the confirmation group as a way to introduce the youths to the entire parish community, she added.
"We’re trying to teach them about service and that the program is not just for them (to perform), it’s for the community as a whole," Johnston said.
The soup supper also added a new dimension to the ongoing relationship with parishioners of Irondequoit’s St. Margaret Mary Parish that first began with Holy Redeemer/St. Francis Xavier about two decades ago. Since St. Margaret Mary’s school closed last June, the community has been without a church hall and was receptive to the idea of a combined Lenten event with Our Lady of the Americas, said Cathy Kane, head of St. Margaret Mary’s social-justice ministry.
Father Vincent Panepinto, pastor of Our Lady of the Americas, also offered the hall to the Irondequoit parish whenever they need it, beyond just using it for the Lenten event.
"This is the beginning of our getting together (during Lent)," he added. "It’s an opportunity for us to dialogue and get to know each other."
Kane said she was happy that so many of her fellow parishioners came out for the first soup supper on March 4. The suppers will continue on Wednesdays during Lent.
"I’m so impressed that people made the effort to get to know each other," she said.
Father Tim Horan, St. Margaret Mary’s pastor, said that while his parish has worked with Holy Redeemer/St. Francis Xavier for so many years, he would like the community to grow in friendship with all of the Our Lady of the Americas parishioners.
"We want to reach out with each community offering what it has been given to the other," he said.
Koralis Rodriguez Pagan, 11, said portraying Mary before the two parish communities during the Stations of the Cross gave her a sense of pride and a new perspective about the suffering of Jesus.
"It was awesome to perform (for) other people," she said. "I was proud when I was doing this. When I was doing the stations, I felt like Jesus was feeling."

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