Parish festival celebrates community


By Sharon Crall
For The Catholic Messenger

GEORGETOWN — Life has been on a fast track around St. Patrick Parish in Georgetown this summer as the parish prepares for God’s Portion Day Weekend. For example, the parish cemetery arch is being redesigned and recreated with brick pillars as anchors to grace the entrance. The church organ motor and blower decided to go on the blink, so Ben Hoskins, a young pipe organ builder from Monroe County, rushed to the rescue. He learned how to play the pipe organ on that Georgetown machine! Then last week St. Patrick-Georgetown hosted Bishop Thomas Zinkula, who presided at Mass and installed Father Mark Yates, C.PP.S., as pastor of the three-parish cluster. Dinner followed in the Parish Hall.

But back to God’s Portion Day, a huge homecoming celebration and fund-raiser held on Labor Day Weekend. Parishioners, friends and natives plan and work for months to prepare for this event.

Homegrown sweet corn has been processed for the Homegrown Dinner, and chicken has been ordered to be pan fried beginning about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Sept. 3.


A Make and Bake Day was held to provide items for the Country Store, which features a section entitled “A Taste of Georgetown.” Souvenirs have been designed and ordered. A golf tournament has been organized for Saturday, Sept. 2, at Albia Golf. Planning for the big auction is also underway!

Parishioners look for the historic, unique, Irish-themed and downright funny items that add to the auction item value and to the fun as volunteer auctioneers cry out. Two years ago, four chairs from the now-razed convent drew bidders’ interest. Some were sure the Sisters of Humility had used them for desk chairs. Another year some parishioners made a field trip to the quarry where the stones were mined for the more than 150-year-old church building. That year, bidders could purchase “a piece of the rock” as a memento. A local company made metal shamrock yard signs a few years ago etched with Georgetown family names. Friendly bidding wars between siblings and cousins ensued!

What about this year? The gals have unearthed what they are certain is the pie-cutting table from the old convent, and the story will be told of the millions (OK, maybe thousands) of pie crusts rolled out on that table by generations of Humility sisters. A special framed photograph of the church will also be auctioned. Local veteran photographer Ron Clester spent many hours working to capture an image of the church building. Last November, he got his shot with a myriad of stars lighting up the nighttime sky. He added the caption “Jesus I know you’re never far … Just behind a Heavenly star.” White Oak Gallery matted and framed the photo in a frame created by Sheriff Dan Johnson from woodworking saved from the rectory building.

Yes, it’s another busy summer for the parishioners of St. Patrick’s and after Labor Day Weekend, plans and dreams will commence for next year’s events. Who knows what will be up for bid at God’s Portion Day 2018?

If you go

St. Patrick Parish in Georgetown is hosting its annual God’s Portion Day weekend Sept. 2-3. There will be a golf tournament at Albia Golf on Sept. 2; call Paige Bradley at (641) 799-9687 to sign up. On Sept. 3, celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. and enjoy a roast beef and fried chicken dinner from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Music, kids’ entertainment and a country store begins at noon, with a live auction beginning at 1 p.m. and a lawn social at 3 p.m. Questions: contact Sharon Crall at (515) 932-5589 or (641) 799-0071.

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1 thought on “Parish festival celebrates community

  1. My grandfather, Alexander Craig helped to build St. Patrick’s Church. My mother, Monica Elizabeth (Craig) Chevalier, was baptized there and many of my Craig relatives are buried in the cemetery across the highway from the church. My mother’s family lived on a farm just south of Melrose. She had ten brothers and three sisters who all attended Mass at St. Patrick’s in their childhood years. They were educated by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary from Ottumwa.

    I attended many of the God’s Portion Days with my mother who passed away in February of 2013 at the age of 98. She was the longest living child of Alexander and Mary Agnes Craig. I have happy memories of the Labor Day weekend celebration.

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