St. Charles Borromeo celebrates 50 years
By Maggie Collins
For The Catholic Telegraph
St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Kettering celebrated a jubilee year from October 2011 to October 2012. The major theme of the year was one of gratitude to God for the many blessings received over the 50 years of the parish’s existence. Established on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, the parish implemented the council reforms over the years.
A parish mission set the tone for the beginning of the jubilee year. The evening sessions focused on the three-part document, “The Sacrament of Love: We Believe, We Celebrate, We Live,” developed by noted author and liturgist, Father Richard Fragomeni.
The three morning sessions, “The Seven Great Virtues of the Catholic Faith,” answered the question, “What does it mean to live a virtuous life?” At the conclusion of the mission, Father Fragomeni gave participants a better appreciation of the Eucharist and the parish witness speakers were a source of inspiration of how the Eucharist impacts everyone.
The parish also welcomed Richard Vosko, designer and consultant for worship environments, who guided the faith community during the building of the church in 1993.
During Advent, three unique evening sessions were offered. Since the parish was established at the time of Vatican II, Father Gerald Haemmerle, pastor, gave an informative session on the Vatican Council — “Why a Council? What Happened? What Came from It?” The two remaining sessions given by parishioners, were devoted to the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” and the “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Called and Gifted: the Emerging Role of the Laity in our Church.”
The parish’s Lenten program, “In the Footsteps,” featured the life and times of three well-known Catholics: St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of the parish, Thomas Merton and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Over the past 50 years, liturgical music has grown and evolved to meet the needs of the parish. Since 1962, the choir has been an anchor to the liturgical music. The original choir sang from 1962-1998. Thirty members returned to sing at a special Sunday liturgy, accompanied by the original liturgical director and organists. Currently, the parish has two liturgical choirs.
As the parish celebrated its jubilee year, it was only fitting to have other several musical programs to celebrate the gift of song. Karen Schneider Kirner from the University of Notre Dame gave an organ concert. Continuing with the celebration of music, a concert and workshop lead by Marty Haugen and Tony Alonzo energized the parish, and a workshop the musicians presented educated the congregation on the direction of liturgical music in the contemporary church.
To carry out the parish’s social outreach ministry, members welcomed Father David Korth, director of St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, Neb., and Sarah Snake, youth director and native Winnebagoan. They spoke at a luncheon for parish leaders and later that evening welcomed all parish members. They shared what was happening at St. Augustine parish and school, as well as their goals and expectations for the anticipated twinning relationship.
Sister of Charity Caroljean Willie, her community’s NGO representative to the United Nations, was one of the 50th anniversary distinguished speakers, speaking about discipleship in a global age.
The highlight of the jubilee year was a Historical A’fair, during which parishioners were given a visual experience of the history of the parish by viewing original scrapbooks, banners and first Communion class photos from each of the past 50 years. Four large panels were created to highlight historical events in the parish and accomplishments during the terms of our its pastors: Msgr. Martin T. Gilligan, Father Richard L. Klug, Msgr. Lawrence K. Breslin and Father Haemmerle.
To cap off the year of special events, a gala party was held at a local country club.
As a closing of the jubilee year, the parish welcomed Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving.