St. Patrick's church celebrate namesake, diverse community

Father O'Dowd and young church member
Father O'Dowd and young church member

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – St. Patrick's Catholic Church hosts a festival in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, and their namesake.  Church leaders call it a community celebration.

Right after mass until evening, church parishioners and their neighbors enjoyed all types of food, goodies, games and fellowship.  The church lawn was full with the smell of fair food,  the sound of laughter, and the feel of family.

"Basically to have a good time - to show that the faith is not just in the church, but in the community as well," said Father Francis O'Dowd.

St. Patrick's church is a cornerstone of the Lufkin community, and has been for a very long time.

"The church started in 1928, I came here at about 1930," said Jim Lamonte, 84 year-old church member, "It's where I first met the lord and grown in the lord."

He's watched many generations follow his lead during mass, and Sunday School, but it's events like the St. Patrick's Festival that he really sees his church shine.

"Just really look forward to it. It's just great. I love people. I love to talk to people," said Lamonte.

The church really takes all kinds: young, old, different backgrounds, different languages. The festival is important to church leaders for many different reasons, but they do agree on one: that these types of events really bring their diverse community together.

"It brings us the parish community together, and we also welcome every other denomination. It brings the different cultures together. It's just a fun time," said Oralia Aguilar, Faith Formation Leader.

"It's everybody in the community - everybody together. The whole church together coming here to worship then going out and celebrating this great feast," said Deacon Juan Mijares.

Aguilar hopes it's a positive experience that continues through the youngest members of their congregation.

"That they continue with the tradition and most of all that they learn to love their parish and the people around them," said Aguilar.

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