Sunday, the faithful of St. Leo in Lusk gathered to for a marvelous celebration of 100 years of faith. This is one of a few communities in Wyoming to have historical claims to the presence of the great missionary Jesuit, Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet. Fr. De Smet visited nearby Rawhide Butte in 1851 while he was in the area for the Great Council at Fort Laramie. Fr. De Smet was held in high regard by the Native Americans.
Clearly, the parish has prepared for this celebration for quite some time. The sanctuary was nicely prepared, and much of the day, volunteers were busy preparing a great meal that followed, complete with a roasted hog and creamery cooked cabbage, corn, carrots and sausage. They even made some homemade ice cream!
Many were present from St. Leo, but also from some of the surrounding parishes were duly represented to help the community celebrate. Even a few other priests and deacons from the area came to pray and eat!
With the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time also being Catechetical Sunday, we commissioned the parish catechists during Mass, along with a prayer of blessing over the parents and guardians of the children, as they are the first teachers of the faith to their children.
During the homily, the people were reminded of the three-fold nature of the Church, and the need to be strong in the faith. For the parish to exist another 100 years, it is necessary to continue to gather regularly to hear the Word of God, celebrate the Sacraments, and to carry out with generous charity their faith in daily life. What is freely received through the Church, namely faith and life in Jesus Christ, is to be generously lived and professed with integrity and joy.
After Mass, the parishioners gathered on the front steps to offer a prayer for all those former parishioners who have preceeded us in death. After the prayer, parishioners released balloons in their honor. With the conclusion of that ceremony, all headed to the fair grounds for the reception and dinner that followed. To say the least, all had a great time!
Congratulations, St. Leo’s! Keep living the faith!