Persons, places and things: The Dawn of Salvation


By Barb Arland-Fye

Wendy Kelley and her daughter, Mari, 11, make Chrismons (symbols of Christ) during a retreat at Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire. The retreat was held Dec. 1 as a way to inspire people’s celebration of Christmas Time, which begins Christmas Eve and ends Jan. 13 on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Months after completing an academic assignment to design a retreat about Christmas Time, I had the privilege of seeing it carried out in my parish.
The retreat becoming reality reminded me that God blesses us with companions on this journey of faith to help us grow in our understanding of what it means to be Church.
About a year ago, I mentioned my assignment to fellow parishioner Sandy Fedler who thought others would like to learn more about Christmas Time.
We began sketching out details for hosting the retreat at Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire. Sandy coordinated behind-the-scenes efforts with the parish’s Altar & Rosary Society, of which she is an active member. I consulted with IlaMae Hanisch, the diocese’s adult and family formation coordinator; my pastor, Father Joe Wolf, and our parish’s Liturgy Committee on the retreat’s liturgical components. Cheryl Brogla Krupke, our parish’s music director, agreed to share her musical expertise. Deacon Jeff Schuetzle of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, one of my classmates in the Master of Pastoral Theology Program, agreed to lead the reflection period to conclude the retreat.
As often happens in a thriving parish, other activities were taking place that day: preparations for a meal to be served to people in need at Café on Vine in Davenport, a wedding two hours after the retreat, eucharistic adoration, Saturday night Mass and a baptism.
How would we avoid disruptions? By being aware that each of these activities and celebrations represents our commitment to do God’s will, to serve God’s people…

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