This month of July nears a close, but has provided numerous opportunities for visiting the people of our Missions. This weekend, I was able to celebrate Saturday evening Mass at St. Anthony in Guernsey and Sunday morning Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in Glendo. Guernsey is about an hour and a half drive north of Cheyenne and rests along the banks of the North Platte River.
St. Anthony is served from St. Rose, in Torrington. Fr. Drew Duncan arrived on the scene last year, and Fr. Ray Moss became the pastor this year. These two priests now serve St. Rose, St. Anthony, and St. Leo in Lusk. I will be in Lusk in a couple of months to help them celebrate their 100th anniversary.
An interesting part of the history of Guernsey is that the Oregon Trail ran through this part of Wyoming, and ruts from the thousands of covered wagons and conestogas that traversed this land some 150 years ago are still visible in parts of the limestone beds nearby.
Another piece of salvation history was made Saturday evening, as we baptized a five year old grandson of one the parishioners. Barbara and Louis Holiday, parishioners of St. Anthony were present with their son, Austin and his wife, Ana-Isabel. Austin and Ana now live in Brussels, Belgium along with their, Ulysses.
The baptism was already scheduled, so the family was quite excited to have a ‘pinch hitter’ preside and perform the Baptism Saturday evening. As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, these are special moments for me as well, since it seems about the only time I get to enjoy these special moments as a bishop is during the Easter Vigil. I’m glad Fr. Drew shared the honor with me.
Following Mass and visiting with parishioners, I made my way to Douglas for the evening, where I spent the night one of our newest Pastors, Fr. Steve Titus. Fr. Titus is now the pastor of St. James in Douglas, and our Sunday morning destination, Our Lady of Lourdes in Glendo.
The drive from Douglas south to Glendo was beautiful, with cloud cover, sunburst and beautiful heavenly colors. It was a great way to start the day. Glendo host one of the major reservoirs in the state, and is a popular site for camping and fishing. The summer visitors generally swell the Sunday Mass attendance, and today was no different.
The original church in Glendo, 1903, was named St. John. The present structure was built in the year 1952 – 1953; ground- breaking was 60 years ago this Sunday. The church was built for less than$10,000!
As you can see, the interior is nicely done in knotty pine. It provides a very warm and inviting atmosphere, topped only by the warmth and hospitality of the people who make up the community. One person told me that years ago, the entire community of Glendo was primarily Catholic.
Fortunately, I did not need to be anywhere else quickly, so after Mass I was able to stay and visit a while. There is a substantial hall attached to the church. The Senior Citizens use the hall during the week, which is a nice financial benefit to the mission.
Many of the locals are ranchers, and some are people from Douglas or Casper or even Cheyenne who come to camp for the weekend. Glendo rests near the Laramie Mountain Range, and this area also sadly suffered some recent wildfire ravages. However, this, too is a part of nature, and these folks are pretty accustomed to dealing with Mother Nature.
The Diocese of Cheyenne is vast in size, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. God continues to bless me by the faith-filled people that populate our faith communities. With every one of these visits, I fall a bit more in love with those entrusted to my pastoral care. God bless all of you. Keep living and growing the Faith!