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08/13/11

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ANNUAL EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS UNIQUE TO ST. MARY PARISH

Celebrating the Feast Day of our Patroness, Mary Help of Christians  

Our Lady of Brezje is a highlight on the calendar of events each year.  Father Cyril Zupan, chose the name St. Mary Help of Christians when the church began in May of 1895. The name is derived from the same Slovenian title - Our Lady of Brezje that was Father Cyril's homeland.

The celebration begins at dusk on the eve of the Feast Day, May 23rd with a candle lighting service held in the church.   The service includes a Marian Litany, Scripture Readings and Benediction. Following the church service...the faithful process to the Holy Mary Prayer Garden while singing Marian Hymns and carrying candles.  They are then led by the priest in the praying of the rosary. Rosaries sent to St. Mary's from Brezje are usually available for a donation of $10.00.   Rosaries  can be ordered by calling 719-564-6779 or by emailing st.marysgen@yahoo.com.

Since there is much unrest in the ethnic area represented by our founding fathers, we continue to participate in the Resolution presented by the Coordinating Committee for Slovenian Participation in the 41st International Eucharistic Congress in Washington D.C: "that every year on the Eve of the feast of Our Lady of Brezje, our Patroness and Protector of Slovenian heritage, we light a candle and spend the evening in meditation. We reflect on the Christian values and traditions that guided our people through the centuries, that mold us today and through us the nation where we live."

Mass on the feast day is celebrated with full ethnic color. The Preseren Choir, in Slovenian attire provide the liturgical music adapted to customary Slovenian melodies. Following the Mass, the congregation is then treated to a dinner that features ethnic food. For many years the St. Joseph Lodge #7 KSKJ (American Slovenian Catholic Union) has funded the event.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

St. Mary's Church is very fortunate in having in residence the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, who provide and supervise both daily and nocturnal adoration for the parish and community.  The Blessed Sacrament is exposed from Monday through Friday daily following the 8 a.m. Mass.  There is hourly adoration, praying of the rosary and liturgy.  Adoration closes after evening prayer at 5 p.m. The Thursday adoration closes at 9:00 p.m. and Saturday's adoration closes at noon. Sunday hours are 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

On the first Saturday of each month, parishes from the city alternate hours of adoration under the title of Nocturnal Adoration Society.

Presently residing at St. Mary's Convent, 311 East Mesa are Sisters Ricella, Grogorius and Teresita of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.

During Lent and in preparation for the Easter Season the parish is involved in many different activities, some cultural and some spiritual.

Each Wednesday during Lent, a Mass is celebrated at noon followed by a light lunch of meatless soup and bread. Everyone is invited and there is no charge. However, contributions are placed in the Operation Rice Bowl boxes on the tables. This provides for the annual donation that is sent to the Catholic Relief Services for the hungry of the world.

Palm Sunday

The American Slovenian Catholic Union celebrates Mass with a corporate communion followed by an ethnic breakfast. An added color to Palm Sunday is the importing of "butarice" palms from Ljubljana, Slovenia that are available at a nominal fee.  These colorful butarice decorate the sanctuary on Palm Sunday along with the descriptive velvet panels that depict the gospels of each week during Lent.

Holy Saturday

The Blessing of the authentic Easter Food baskets (Zegen) takes place. Included in each basket are the ethnic foods that are a representation of the Passion of Our Lord.  Throughout the years different connotations are derived, but the symbolism remains.

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

This is a favorite celebration for both young and old.  Although it is a celebration that emanated in Slovenia, it became a part of the Christmas activities here when the parish began. A statue of St. Nicholas was purchased in the early 1900's in honor of the special event.

The annual celebration is held the first Saturday of December in order to coincide with the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. As has been the custom,  in recent years the faithful are asked to bring a Christmas gift for a child to be placed at the foot of the St. Nicholas statue during the Offertory procession at Mass. These gifts are then distributed to the needy children through  Catholic Social Services. Following the Mass a reception is held.   Children are presented a bowl     of candy, nuts, orange and the customary coin (nickel).  These bowls are also delivered to the home bound of the parish who are unable to attend the event. These are often given out by the Parish priest dressed in the costume of the infamous St. Nicholas, who is accompanied by Rupert, his assistant.

The story evolved from its first celebration until such time as Rev. Blane Bebble O.S.B. suggested that a story be written about St. Nicholas' life for the young people to relate to. He asked Bernice Krasovec to write such a story and as a result, it became a children's book written in verse. It continues to be available. 

Fund-raisers in the parish

These events always display some type of ethnic and cultural flavor.                       Throughout the years Spaghetti Dinners, Harvest Soup Festivals and Slovenian Heritage Celebrations are held. At most of the events, the ladies and gentlemen make home-made noodles, strudels, potica, etc. to feature at bake sales.

As a result of the variety of ethnic foods that are sought by friends and as a need for raising revenue, two cookbooks have been printed. The first book, St. Mary's Cook Book done in a notebook form and the Slovenian Heritage Cook Book that featured the recipes from the Harvest Soup Festival and Lenten Soups were created.

 

   

This site was last updated 08/13/11