This morning, I made it to one more ‘mission’ church within the Diocese of Cheyenne, St. Peter in Carpenter. Just 30 miles south east of Cheyenne, this was one of the more convenient visits this bishop has had in a while.
St. Peter is one of two missions served out of St. Paul in Pine Bluffs by Fr. Kevin Koch. Next Sunday, I will celebrate Mass at the other mission, St. Joseph in Albin.
Following next Sunday, I believe that will leave only three more mission churches to visit before I will have celebrated Mass in every church of the Diocese. Then, we can start all over again!
About a dozen people were present for our celebration today. They were quite proud of their church, as in the past year they have put new siding on the exterior, replaced the doors and windows, put down a new floor inside, and purchased a new stove to heat the church in the winter. They are now working on refinishing all of the pews. These folks are obviously good stewards of this church that was built in 1908.
Carpenter is about seven miles from the Colorado border, and is surrounded by farm and ranch land. I always enjoy the visits with parishioners that follow these celebrations. One of the farmers grows quite a few sunflowers, and I may just get the chance to return for a visit in a few weeks to see how sunflowers are harvested. I hope that works out, because I really miss being in the fields during the harvest season.
Following Mass, some refreshments were served, and everyone stayed to visit. I was encouraged to hear that many of the farms in this area remain in the hands of local families. The loss of small family farms is a real challenge across the country, and I’m glad to see that these farmers do not have too far to go to get their grain to local mills.
I’m sure there are a few ranchers in the area as well. With the close proximity of Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs, there are also other possibilities for employment.
I look forward to Mass in Albin next Sunday.