The holidays have arrived in Walkerton beginning with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday. For Catholic's this is a day with special meaning! Parents can emphasize the Eucharistic meaning of Thanksgiving in their families by adding their own unique Catholic touches to Thanksgiving traditions.
Many Catholics want to provide services to the poor prior to attending family celebrations? You will find Catholics attending the nursing homes to visit the elderly? Or taking the time to serve food at numerous soup kitchens and food banks. Thanksgiving is a communal event and a time to be with loved ones! It is a time to give thanks to God.
Pastor Zimmer is so proud of the return to the belltower circular window missing for decades.
Father Eric Zimmer was assigned to the St. Patrick's Parish in Walkerton on January 1, 2016. Prior to his arrival the parish was without a pastor for a while, and several priests pitched in to help serve the parishioners. It is a small parish of about 160 families.
At the recent blessings of the animals at St. Patrick's Church of Walkerton.
“At one time there were 450 families,” Father Zimmer said. “But we are growing. We’ve had 30 families join since I arrived.” He has integrated programs that he feels are getting more people involved in the parish. Zimmer gave the example of a program held on Wednesdays during Lent. Starting with Ash Wednesday there is a Simple Supper at 6 p.m., followed by Stations Of The Cross at 7 p.m., then, Exposition and Benediction. He said attendance at Stations of the Cross has gone from five parishioners to about 30.
Parishioners at St. Patrick are very committed to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. Father Zimmer said in recent years the parish been among the top five parishes in the diocese for percentage of parishioners donating, and in the top 5 percent of those that are over goal. The number of people donating has increased, as is the amount of money being donated. Because of surpassing its goal last year, an overage was returned to the parish that was used to restore the original stained glass windows that date back to 1895 /1896! According to Father Zimmer.
Reverend Father Zimmer took these photos showing newly restored windows inside the chapel.
That restoration was completed last week because of parishoner donations. They covered the amount not met by the Bishop's appeal made for the improvements. Father Zimmer attached pictures for our Walkerton Page readers of a couple of the restored windows. He said "The one in our belltower is, perhaps not as clear as it would be if it had back lighting (which we planned to do), but it gives you some idea." Also, The St. Patrick's Parish in Walkerton has been very successful in converting the old school into the new "Letko Hall!" It is now available for events for parishoners, and the community! Father Zimmer said, "coming up on the Saint Patrick’s calendar is our annual Christmas concert, which occurs after the 10:30 AM mass, on 2nd of December, the first Sunday of Advent." Please be sure to plan on this at:
Saint Patrick’s Church - Christmas Concert
807 Tyler Street
Walkerton, IN 46574
Among Father Zimmer’s hopes for the future are to have a full-time staff person at the parish. He would also like to engage in more outreach to youth, and it would be nice to have a certain Mass geared toward the youth and to have the parish hall accessible for them to come and watch a movie or something, he said.
The parish’s strong point, according to its pastor, is the willingness of the parishioners to help.
“We have a core of people who are very happy to volunteer their time and talent towards various things, whether it’s updating the facilities, cooking or cleaning up. Their willingness to do that is very helpful. They are very proud of their parish,” he said.
Father Zimmer wants to continue the growth he’s seen since being assigned to St. Patrick. “It’s important for our parish to continue to grow; we need to continue outreach to the groups alienated from the Church who are still within our area,” he said. “We have to provide programs and outreach that refreshes people.”
* Thanks to "Todays Catholic" Fort Wayne - South Bend Diocese