Catholic Herald Staff
Sunday, Nov. 10, marked the second Faith, Family & Fun Day Event at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Dobie, with activities focused on the Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas seasons.
Organizers hoped, as summarized by parishioner and event co-chair Cathy Solum, “this event would provide a fun time for all ages to share our Catholic Faith with one another and take home items that would further enrich our faith and strengthen our families for days and years to come.”
A meal was provided, and there were seven projects that individuals or families could choose to do onsite or take home and complete at another time.
Sixty families were represented, with a total of 140 people present. The free event was sponsored by the parish, and food and project materials were all donated by parishioners and other local supporters.
A volunteer crew of approximately 70 was crucial to the day’s success.
Solum recognized her sister and co-chair Mary Willi, a retired educator in Bloomer and Chetek and parishioner at St. John the Baptist Church in Cooks Valley, as playing a strong role in how the event got started.
Willi had invited Solum to Mass at her home parish, after which they attended “A Catequest Adventure.” That event was organized by Kevin and Frances Butek, owners of a business called Illuminated Ink (featured in the Superior Catholic Herald in 2014), which offers Catholic-based craft and activity products and kits for individuals and parishes to purchase. Some of their items provided the basis for the Catequest Adventure.
Solum saw the products as something she wanted to provide in her home parish, “which is flowing with young families at the present time.”
The Dobie parishioner said she and her sister “grew up in a home that was filled with strong religious traditions all year long,” but the Advent season was “especially meaningful and memorable.”
The sisters’ late parents Calvin and Janet Mullen would stop everything on the family’s dairy farm and in their busy family life to have Advent dinners in their home.
Great-grandparents, grandparents and all of the family’s six children were invited to gather for a sit-down meal, prayers and reading from the Bible, all centered on the symbolic Advent wreath and candle light. This sparked their desire to share and try to help pass on some traditions of the Catholic Church with others.
“After some persuasion at Our Lady of Lourdes, it has caught on strongly,” Solum said.
She noted that 120 were in attendance in 2018, and that increased in 2019.
“Thanks goes to the Butek family for their ideas and attending and helping out at the 2018 event. They were so helpful and were overwhelmed with the turnout and support out in our parish, they gave us the faith-fire to continue to provide our own, newly named Faith, Family & Fun Day Events in the Superior Diocese, at our home parish in Dobie,” Solum acknowledged.
More than simply a success in numbers, the organizers are pleased to note the number of items that will aid local families in their Advent and Christmas devotions and practices –37 Advent wreaths with 40 sets of hand-rolled beeswax candles, 20 Advent blessing kits, 25 wooden Christmas countdown puzzles and 60 mangers built to prepare hearts for Jesus’ coming, where each good deed adds a piece of straw to make the manger comfortable for the newborn King.
For Thanksgiving, 38 Thankful Gardens were planted, to be used as centerpieces in family homes, with bags of small rocks to write on things for which people are thankful. In addition, 32 Community Service Snowmen were made and will be given to Memory Care individuals this year, and an Advent-themed children’s corner was very busy with the young and young at heart.
“With the wrap up of this event still ongoing, plans for 2020 Lent and Easter along with Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas themed Faith, Family & Fun Days are well in the works,” Solum concluded.