By Mary Stadnyk | News Editor
Instilling in parishioners the importance of maintaining Catholic traditions is a top priority for Father Daniel Hesko.
One tool the pastor of St. Catherine of Laboure Parish, Middletown, has used during the past 15 years is the observation of the saints’ feast days.
As in many parishes, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi in October brings the blessing of pets. In May, those parishioners and their family members with cancer are especially remembered in prayer when the feast of St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients, is observed. Those parishioners who are afflicted with arthritis are remembered in August when their patron saint, Alphonsus, is honored. And in December, for the feast of St. Lucy, prayers are offered for the healthy eyesight of parishioners.
The month of July, however, is when the St. Catherine community looks to pray for the safety of motorists and travelers and their automobiles as well. Being that the traditional feast of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, is marked on July 25, Father Hesko holds a special blessing of parishioners’ automobiles – whether they are sedans, SUVs or mini-vans – the Sunday before July 25. This year’s blessing was held July 22 after the parish’s noon Mass.
Father Hesko said he began the tradition of blessing automobiles when he was a parochial vicar in St. Martha Parish, and carried it over when he was named pastor of St. Catherine Parish. With each year, Father Hesko has been pleased that “more and more” parishioners show up to have their automobiles blessed. He noted that this year, there were about 125 cars lined up in the parish parking lot waiting for a blessing.
“Our Catholic faith is rooted in tradition,” he said, and observing the various saints and their feast days, “can help people to see the sacredness of our traditions.”
“It also calls to mind that the saints are there to intercede for us and to pray for us,” said Father Hesko.[[In-content Ad]]