Parish Festivals Blend Faith and Fun
By Jerry Zufelt
Parish festivals bring communities of faith together and can also bring the wider community to the faith.
One festival brings nearly 10,000 people annually to a small parish in Crabtree for a four-day event that
includes a procession honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
From its humble beginning in 1911 as a celebration by parishioners who recently arrived from Italy, the event has grown to involve people from Crabtree-area churches and civic organizations.
Benedictine Father Justin Matro, pastor, said many people who have moved away from the area use the festival as a family reunion weekend.
“It is a religious and spiritual festival for the parish,” he said. “Parishioners know the procession honors Our Lady. The procession takes on aspects of a Fourth of July parade as Scouts, the fire department and others join us in honoring Mary. Faith and patriotism merge.”
The festival generates $35,000 to $40,000 for the parish, Father Justin said.
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