Published October 2, 2008
Instead of the usual vacation Bible school programs, for the past two summers St. Mark Church has held parish life nights for people of all ages, with a special focus on the saints. This past summer, parishioners experienced an evening in June with the Blessed Mother and in July with Sts. Anne and Joachim.
The evening with Mary featured dramatic presentations of six apparitions of our Lady, including Lourdes, Fatima, Kibeho, Guadalupe, LaVang and Knock. The parish’s pastor, Father Abel Guerrero-Orta, even played the part of St. Juan Diego.
Those who attended enjoyed related crafts and other activities, learning to make rosaries and creating Mary gardens with plants associated with the Blessed Mother.
On July 26, the parish gathered for the feast day of Sts. Anne and Joachim and explored the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, since these two saints were the grandparents of Jesus. Many brought their own grandparents for the evening.
St. Mark parishioners Mary Ann and Richard Nutt played the roles of St. Anne and St. Joachim, sharing stories of the Old Testament and their lives and times, in a room set up as their home.
Participants played a variety of old-fashioned games, with young and old enjoying board games and outdoor games.
The evening ended with the Saturday vigil Mass and a community potluck dinner, with the Knights of Columbus providing the entree.
Mary Ruth Jones, the director of religious education for the parish, said the programs were attended by approximately 135 people of all ages, “a wonderful turnout.”
She noted that one of the benefits of a program such as this is that “families attend together, instead of it being a drop-off program just for children.”
The parish life nights were the brainchild of parishioner Pam Hamilton, said Jones. Hamilton’s family has “a passion for learning about the lives of the saints,” and she and her husband have shared this love with not only their 12 children but also the confirmation classes at St. Mark’s.
St. Mark’s is located at 5410 Hwy. 194 South, Clarkesville. For more information about the parish, call the office at (706) 754-4518.