Sacred Heart in New Carlisle hosts trap shoot event
By Sarah Anne Carter
For The Catholic Telegraph
While searching for ideas for a parish get-together, one member of Sacred Heart in New Carlisle found the perfect fit out in the woods.
The parish hosted a trap shoot Nov. 8, and about 35 parishioners attended, along with Father Ken Hummel, the parish priest, who is also an avid hunter.
“Over the past decade, my parishioners have taken me hunting on their farms and land, even to places like Alaska, the Arctic, Africa and the West of our own country,” Father Hummel said. “But, still, my favorite type of hunting is the Midwest whitetail deer.”
The trap shoot was a way for the church leadership to share one of their favorite pastimes with the parish. Philip Francis, parish council member, also said the event was a way for people who have never participated in a trap shoot to try it out for the first time.
“I was trying to think of something a little different to get people together for an activity,” said Francis. “I have always loved the outdoors, especially fishing and hunting. This is just something different that allows people to enjoy the outdoors and get to know each other.”
Each attendee, ranging in age from eight to 80, got to shoot 50 sporting clays at one of the five shooting stations at Stull Preserve in New Carlisle. Prizes were awarded in three age categories – youth, teen and adult. The top shooter in each category received a $50 gift certificate to Stull Preserve and the second and third place shooters were given hats.
“I wanted to participate because I enjoy the hunting and shooting sports,” said Bill Serra, a parishioner from Tipp City. “I am an avid supporter of our God-given rights to life, liberty and property.”
Serra said he enjoyed the event, even though his shooting skills were a bit “rusty.”
“This event was a way to get out with friends and parishioners, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy the shooting sport,” Serra said.
At the event, Father Hummel did a blessing of the weapons and hunters. He asked for hunters to have a steady hand and to have good clean kills this year without simply wounding animals. Part of the blessing was, “May every hunting party experience a deepening of the ties to family and friendship. When they are in the field elevate their minds and hearts to you, our Creator, and deepen their fidelity to the Mass and sacraments.”
“I appreciated the blessing that Father Hummel gave before the shoot, and believe that hunting is a great way to help feed ourselves and properly care for nature and all of God’s creatures,” Serra said.
Father Hummel said that spending time outside is good for both the body and the soul because God created us to enjoy the great outdoors.
After the event, there was a lunch potluck. The parish plans to have the event again next year. Father Hummel said the church also plans to host a springtime fishing derby, a summer trap shoot, a fall rabbit hunt and a late November St. Hubert Mass.
“We will definitely have it again,” Francis said. “The plan is to make it an annual event. I would expect over 50 people next year to attend. It was a great day that allowed people to get to know one another and experience the outdoors.”
The blessing of hunters and weapons by the church can be traced as far back as the French Jesuit priests when they came to the New World, Father Hummel said. It’s a tradition he wishes to continue.
“I feel as if God was smiling on this event,” Francis said. “They called for chance of rain but it turned out to be perfect weather.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.