By Teresa Golden
Our Lady of the Alleghenies Parish in Lilly invites all people of the area to come and join them for a special summer celebration that they hope will become an annual tradition. The first event of its kind for the parish, Lilly Catholics have come together to plan a parish festival that will be filled with food, fellowship, and fun. Their parish festival will be held on Sunday, July 23 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on their church grounds, with much to do during those hours.
The event is the brainchild of Our Lady of the Alleghenies parishioner Autumn Custer, who serves as the chair of the festival planning committee. Autumn was inspired by another local church festival and took it upon herself to bring an event like it to her home parish, determined that she too could put on an event that would create a sense of fellowship and belonging for the people of her community. With the collaboration and support of fellow parishioners, preparation began in the winter months for the festival and has proven to be optimistic and hopeful for a day of fun. She hopes that this event will unite not only the people of her parish, but those who have strayed away from the Catholic community and are looking for a way to come home.
Lifelong parishioner Anna Leahey also shares this enthusiasm about the festival, hoping that it will draw in people of all ages to be a part of the parish community. She feels the importance of living the Catholic lifestyle in and out of the pew is critical, and she hopes that the group effort of the festival will draw people into the church who have left or who are looking for what the Catholic faith has to offer them. The community aspect of the festival is a way for people to connect and feel welcomed while enjoying time with their families, and Anna hopes that people take advantage of this opportunity. As an organizer for many aspects of the festival such as the spaghetti dinner, beer tent and activities such as a Cake and Pie Walk, she is sure that there will be something for everyone to do and feel welcomed by the Lilly Catholic community.
Father Matthew Reese, Pastor of Our Lady of the Alleghenies, is overjoyed by the enthusiasm of the parish and how they have come together to put on a new event from the ground up. With the parish council and others unifying to make plans, he sees that this event echoes the family atmosphere that is often found in small town parishes. It is stressed that the event will not only financially support the parish, but also draw people of the area together to support one another. He is pleased to recognize that an event like this signifies a parish flourishing and paving its way for a successful future. The enthusiasm set by those managing the festival has drawn people in to become a part of the event, no matter how much time and dedication they can contribute. Father Reese will be there on the day of the festival to participate in the “ministry of presence” and spend time with the people of the area that he serves.
The festival will have numerous activities for families of all ages, including a bouncy house and obstacle course, various kids’ games, Bingo, 50/50, rip tickets, and a dime toss. Food will include a spaghetti dinner hosted by the parish from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., as well as food trucks providing dinner, dessert and gourmet sodas. A beer tent will also be available for people to enjoy throughout the afternoon. Live music and a DJ will be present throughout the day, giving people with all interests a way to enjoy such a community-oriented experience. The parish invites you to come and take a look at what they have planned while enjoying the company of others during this lively summer season.
Our Lady of the Alleghenies Parish is located at 608 Main Street in Lilly.
Editor’s Note: Watch more about preparations for the first ever Our Lady of the Alleghenies parish festival and the organizers’ desire to strengthen their Catholic community on Proclaim! TV on July 9 at 10:30 a.m. on WATM ABC 23.
[Photo: Father Matthew Reese and parishioner Anna Leahey stand by a sign that Leahey made promoting the parish festival in the front lawn of the church.]