Monday, September 12, 2005

A Glorious Day! St. Pius X Parish Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary!

On Sunday, September 11, 2005, St. Pius X Parish celebrated its 50th anniversary in glorious fashion with a Mass at 11 am. Our new bishop, Thomas Tobin, was the main celebrant, and Fr. Jordan Mary Turano, O.P., was the homilist.

The Liturgy was beautiful; the music was magnificent; the homily was inspiring; the food at the dinner which followed at the Watch Hill Inn was excellent--and the weather was perfect!

Now for a little background on our parish:

It was established by the Most Rev. Russell J. McVinney, then the Bishop of Providence, on September 8, 1955. Here's how our local paper, the Westerly Sun, described it in its September 9, 1955 issue:

"Rev. Russell J. McVinney, D.D., Bishop of Providence, today announced the establishment of a new parish in Westerly to be known as St. Pius X to serve the needs of Catholics living in the fringe areas of Immaculate Conception Church in Westerly and St. Clare's Church, Misquamicut. . . .

"Rev. William J. Farrell, assistant pastor of St. Augustine's Church, Providence, is pastor of the new St. Pius X Parish. He is expected to assume his duties here within a few days.

"Division of the Church of the Immaculate Conception Parish had been contemplated for some time by Bishop McVinney and while the change may cause some inconveniences at the
beginning, it eventually will lead to greater spiritual and religious opportunities for Catholic parishioners in Westerly.

"The new parish will mean the assignment of more priests to Westerly and will ease the
heavy attendance at the Church of the Immaculate Conception which now conducts Masses in the upper and lower churches in order to accommodate all its parishioners.

"Rev. Irenee Duperry, S.M., pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception said this morning that even with the territorial division, his church will have a parish of approximately 1200 families and there will be several hundred in the area served by St. Pius X Church.

"Until the proper provisions are made, the parishioners in St. Pius X Parish will continue to attend Mass at their usual church."

Parishioners of St. Pius X met for Mass at Immaculate Conception until the new church on Elm St. was completed and consecrated by Bishop McVinney on December 1, 1957.

This year, we celebrated our anniversary in a number of ways. We had a Eucharistic procession on Corpus Christi Sunday, from Immaculate Conception to St. Pius--symbolizing the fact that 50 years ago the Eucharist in a certain sense "travelled" to Pius from our Mother Church on High St.

We plan to make this an annual event.

We also held a parish picnic. This, too, we plan on having every year in the future.

We held and art contest for our young people. The theme was, "What St. Pius X Parish means to me."

We sold commemorative items: hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts.

We brought the community together through a pasta and meatball dinner (which drew nearly 300 people!) and a fried dough breakfast. Through these two events, we raised enough money (with the help of the Knights of Columbus) to purchase a Ten Commandments monument--a permanent memorial to our first 50 years.

And then yesterday (September 11), the anniversary Mass was celebrated. Here are some pictures from the event:

The Entrance Procession.
(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

"The Mass is ended."
Time to bless the Ten Commandments Monument in front of the church.

Bishop Tobin blesses the monument.

Jerry Swerdlick, a 1st degree Knight, pretending to be a 4th degree.