By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — The Year of St. Paul, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and preparation for the 100th anniversary of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church were woven into two, Generations of Faith festivals last week.
Rosie Megraw, religious education coordinator, told participants at the festivals Jan. 21 and 24 that St. Paul was one of the most influential people to spread the word of Christ in the history of the church.
“We are all called to conversion like St. Paul,” Father Michael Spiekermeier, pastor of the parish, told families at the festivals. “St. Paul Parish has been enlightening hearts since 1909.”
More than 250 people attended the festival Jan. 21 and more than 125 on Jan. 24.
Several of the activities at the festivals were used during weekend Masses at St. Paul Parish for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Whether a family consisted of one person or upward of eight or so, Megraw had each family write their last name on a streamer. First names or other decorations could be added. Streamers were collected and placed on poles to be carried into all Masses that weekend.
Younger families also took a Scripture verse from one of Paul’s writings, printed it out and decorated it on banners that were placed along walls around the church. The junior high youth also made a banner that hung from the altar for the weekend.
The Generations of Faith festivals began with an intergenerational gathering and a meal. Wednesday’s meal was a dinner and Saturday’s was a breakfast.
After the welcome, families took an assigned number and found the corresponding number on the wall. There they met other families and put together a puzzle with a symbol relating to Paul. At the end of the festival the families regrouped and explained how that symbol related to Paul and what they learned at the festival.
Parishioner Terry Gahagan portrayed St. Paul, dressed like him and read the story of his conversion.
Participants then divided into one of three groups. Adults and high school students learned about St. Paul, his travels, background and more. A screen in the gathering space showed maps and pictures to add to the talk. Junior high students went to the school to discus Scriptures written by St. Paul and to make the mural for the altar.
Kindergarten through fifth-grade students and at least one adult with them stayed in Denning Hall for two activities. The group divided into two groups and the events went on simultaneously. They switched halfway through.
One group heard about St. Paul’s writings. The various published works of St. Paul (from the New Testament) were listed on the wall. Families selected and decorated a Scripture verse together on paper.
The other group learned about the travels of St. Paul. Children highlighted the maps with markers outlining St. Paul’s journeys. The group made prayer sticks to be used at home.
Mike Hammes, a leader at one of the tables, suggested to families that the sticks could be held during prayer at dinner or sometime during the evening. One stick could be passed around and members could tell what good act they did that day.
After the sessions ended, groups gathered in Denning Hall where families explained the puzzle pieces. A song was sung and then everyone was dismissed.
Megraw said the festival was to build community, give people an opportunity to learn more about St. Paul and celebrate the feast together that weekend.