At a special June 16 Mass celebrating the 105th anniversary of St. Agnes Parish in Elyria, multiple generations of families who filled the church’s pews heard how God had worked in the lives of parishioners through the decades.
Bishop Nelson Perez offered the Mass, which was concelebrated by Father Albert Veigas, pastor, and Father Maurice DeSouza, visiting Chaplain from the VA hospital. Deacon Bruce Tennant assisted. The previous 11 priests who served the parish and the west side area of Elyria and Lorain County also were acknowledged.
From the welcome greeting, the choir and special recognitions, many parts of the Mass focused on preserving how the parish was established, what early ministry was like and how it has evolved and grown over the years.
“I learned that when this church was being built parishioners traveled to St. Agnes in Agony, the 17th century church in Rome. This is the historic site where the early Christian St. Agnes was martyred at the age of 12,” Bishop Perez said during his homily. He, too, has a devotion to the saint as he was pastor of St. Agnes Parish in West Chester, Pennsylvania and he was ordained a bishop at St. Agnes Cathedral in Long Island, New York. “I keep a relic of St. Agnes in my chapel today,” he said.
The bishop also shared that it was 30 years ago on the same feast day – the feast of the Most Holy Trinity -- that he celebrated his first Mass. He asked everyone to contemplate what God looks like on the inside. “That is a part of the mystery of the Holy Trinity,” he said. “Mysteries are to be contemplated and know that we remain in the image of God when we contemplate understanding who we are in his image.”
Before Mass concluded, the parish community honored three longtime members. Father Veigas thanked the parish by saying it is a wonderful time to recognize the gifts of people who have benefited the parish during its 105-year existence. Parishoners acknowledged included Selma Fritz, a life long member of the parish at age 101, Rita Kaib who was baptized and also a life long member of the parish at age 97 and Ron Rybarcyk who has been an alter server for 53 years.