December 11, 2017

Last Friday, the Feast of theImmaculate Conception, was the official end of our Centennial Celebration.  As closings go, it was a tad low-key.  We passed out bookmarks with a wonderful prayer written by our own Deacon Ed Petak.  If you didn’t get one, look at the tables by the doors.

This got me thinking about our Centennial and all that we did.  Being in the thick of much of the planning, it was a far-from-typical work year. I thought I’d share a few favorite take-aways:

St. Raymond folks sure are proud of their St. Raymond heritage.  A year ago when we had our Opening Mass, we invited Founding Families to participate in the procession and the liturgy.  Despite the bitter cold night, they came out in droves as multi-generational     families. It was the perfect way to kick-off our celebration.

I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved our Centennial Speaker series.  That’s a “loved” for each of our five speakers—Fr. Tom McCarthy, Bishop Robert Barron, Matthew Kelly, Fr. John Kartje and Colleen Duggan.  For me, the rock star was Bishop Barron, but each speaker left me with something tangible that has stuck with me. 

This was such an interesting project.   I’ve written before that it was a combination of hard work, perseverance and luck that brought these five speakers to us this year.  We probably didn’t provide something for truly everyone, but I do believe we had a decent range of speakers and subjects.

I also believe that speaker series like these can  and should be a regular occurrence at St. Raymond.  Bringing in nationally-known speakers to the local church should be part of a Cathedral’s mission.  I hope we can continue this in the future.  Suggestions always welcome!

There is such a thing as rewriting  history.  Over the course of our year, we shared the history of our parish in different ways.  Much of the information came from our archives, old parish records and prior writings.  We certainly retold those stories, but we made good try to add to our lexicon.  We found more documents, more pictures, and we sought out new stories.  All added  richness to our shared history.

While the archives are still not put away, they are organized and bigger than they used to be.  I hope our work this year makes it easier on the next celebration committee.

There’s no place like home!  When I think about the Homecoming Fest I marvel that we pulled it off.  It was a big swing:  two days, ten bands, huge infrastructure.  The pre-event anxiety was pretty high. What if was too rainy, too hot or just too much?  What if people didn’t come?  Or too many came? 

But, it turned out perfectly.  Beautiful weather, more than 4,000 people and a wonderful spirit of community.   A true Party-100-Years-In-The-Making. 

We the people.  Throughout the Centennial the response to every “can you?” or “will you?” question was YES!  Whether it was to serve on a committee, help at an event, share a story, sponsor Homecoming Fest  or join in on the fun, the St.     Raymond community was all-in for this celebration and that is the true beauty of it all.

Here’s to the next 100!

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development and Project Liaison, 815-722-6653, extension 242


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