Building A Church: "For God & Saint Patrick"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Passing of Young Knight

I found this story, and with the permission of the author have reprinted it for others to read. MARC GIRARD - REST IN PEACE Marc Girard, 18, looked like your ordinary Catholic teenager. But he was not. He had a Facebook page. He was a part of the Fairy Tale Novel Forum (even though, like most guys, he hadn't read the books :) ). He was careless about spelling. He hated having his picture taken. His avatar was a man making funny faces. To his four younger siblings and to most of his friends, I am sure he sometimes seemed very ordinary. Even though he took his Catholic faith seriously, and sometimes challenged his high school friends on different issues. His friend Paul Ethier was surprised when Marc told him that he was planning to join the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who had a friary near the Girard home in Griswold, CT. Marc was accepted as a postulant, and was going to join the Maine, NY friary in August. The Girard family had been through a lot. Last year they suffered two hardships in a row: first, their home burned down. The only thing in Marc's room that survived the fire was his picture of Padre Pio. The family lived on a trailer through the winter, but then this spring, the property was foreclosed. Marc's father Thomas was working hard to keep the family together. In his free time he helped the Friars of the Immaculate on their outreachs: this past spring he was "Grand Master" knight for their group, The Knights of Lepanto, as Catholic fathers and the friars "initiated" their sons into Catholic knighthood. The photo at the top shows Marc carrying a "penance pack" of 15 pounds of rocks during the "intiation." Thomas found a new house for the family, and they were going to move on the first day of July, yesterday, in fact. The day before the big move, Thomas took his two sons, Marc and Lucas and daughter Hannah swimming at a pond down the street from their old house. There was an island a short distance from the shore, and they decided to swim out to the island.Marc took his younger brother Lucas, 11, along and they swam safely to the island. Mr. Girard took their daughter Hannah, age 7, in his arms and came along behind them. Hearing his sister Hannah screaming, Marc turned back and the boys saw her bobbing in the water. Their father was gone. Marc stopped several feet before reaching the island. He sent Lucas ahead and went back for his father and Hannah. Marc swam out to Hannah. He pushed her towards shore until she was safe, told her to pray, and then dove back in to find their father. He died trying to save him. Rescue personnel speculate that Mr. Girard died of a heart attack suffered while swimming. Marc was brought to the hospital, barely alive. His mother Carol, some of his friends, and the Friars of the Immaculata prayed with him. He received the Annointing of the Sick and was blessed with a relic of St. Padre Pio. Then at 1:50 AM, on the Feast of the Precious Blood, he died. It is terrifying how fast death can come. Earlier this past month, Marc was on the forum (screen name: The Illustrious Marceg) and on his blog, joking and laughing with his friends, running for "President" on the forum against Barak Obama and Mr. Darcy, and offering "words of wisdom" about following one's vocation: Topic: Lord, what are You calling me to do? (Read 460 times) Illustrious Marceg Peasantmember is offline Joined: Feb 2008 Gender: Male Posts: 30 Re: Lord, what are You calling me to do?Jun 19, 2008, 10:35am I was so happy to find a thred wich focased on vocations. Just some words of wisdom, First, you are so right when you say long and short term vocation. Like being a good student was mine and being a good son, but now that I'm done with school. It's now to be a good son as well as a good friend. In August I will be leaving to enter the FI (Fransican Friars of the Immaculate) and am very excited about doing so. The thing is though, in my case, I'm almost poitive that this is Our Lords will for me, but as I grow closer and closer to the day i leave, I get spiritually attacked more and more (with emotions and worries such... I'm not talking about Emily Rose stuff ). I was warned by two very holy Friars about temptation and think it would be very helpful to everyone on this fourm especally for those who are looking into religious life. And that is that you will be tempted in ways you didn't think were possible, and if you do end up entering religious life it's still pretty hard. Its the transistion of being more contempt and 'unplugging' your self from the world. Many of the Saints went trough temptation and trial so just be prepaired and persivere. This also goes for those who are asking the question "what do you want from me". Satan will try to lead you against your vocation, just pray, hope, and don't worry and you'll end up doing His will. Marc was ready to follow his call from God. But this week, he was called to be a hero. And he answered, without hesitation. I am so sorry that Marc couldn't save his father, and that he couldn't save himself. But I am struck by his courage, and I will always remember him. Marc's friends were unanimous in calling him, immediately and from the start, a true knight. I'm a novelist: I write modern adventures in which young adults carelessly tagged as "knights" and "ladies" battle modern demons and dragons. My friends and I play games and hold ceremonies similar to that of the Knights of the Lepanto: serious but always a bit tongue in cheek. We have to ask ourselves at some point: is any of it real? Are we really knights and ladies, or are we just moderns playing an odd game? And then life overtakes us, and for a moment I recognize that for some of us at least, it is real. For Marc, it was real. He truly attained knighthood. Just now I went on the Fairy Tale Forum and voted that Marc be elected president-forever of the Forum. Post mortem yes, but I think his qualifications are out of this world. I love to write about young men who are heroes: it's one reason why I retell fairy tales. Marc Girard is a hero to me, a real knight of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart. I am so honored that he was part of our little online group and that our paths intersected for a short time. Please pray for Carol Girard, and for the remaining children, Adam,17, Jaqueline, 15, Lucas, 11, and Hannah, 7. Pray especially for Lucas, who witnessed the entire tragedy. As the Girard family has been under such financial stress, I can only imagine that this tragedy has left them even more at risk. I would like to ask the Christian community to consider helping them during this hard time. I know how much it helped our family when we suffered the loss of our son Joshua: please let this family know that they are not suffering alone. Condolescences and donations can be sent to: Carol Girard c/o the Ethier Family133 Lake Shore DrivePascoag, Rhode Island 02859 UPDATE: a fund has been set up for the Girards at the local Bank of America. Bank of America590 West Main St (Rt 82) Norwich, CT 06360 UPDATE: Since some of you have asked, by all means feel free to copy or excerpt this post for your own blog or email.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congratulations, Captian Ritchey

I was amazed to see it has been more than a year since the last posting. I really did not have much to say though, since the completion of the building of the church. It is good, however, to say that, by the grace of God, we are enjoying an increase in parishioners, as well as a good number of visitors who appreciate the beauty of the church. I guess that it is time to take the route of the regular blogging, and deal with current events. It is therefore appropriate that this new post congratulate one of our own, Obadiah Ritchey. Obadiah is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and was recently promoted to the rank of Captain. Obadiah attended Saint Patrick Grade School, here in Newry, as well as graduated from Bishop Guilfoyle High School, in Altoona, PA. Congratulations, in additions to Obadiah, go to his parents, Dan & Lisa, and his brother, Jake.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prayers For Father David Linnebur

Father David Linnebur
This post is not the usual one about the new Parish Church, it's more important. Father David Linnebur, a priest of the Wichita Diocese, and my classmate, is very very ill with cancer. He is not very old and this is a sad thing for his parishioners. His Bishop, Bishop Michael Jackels (was ordained a priest in 1981, a year before Father Linnebur and I) has asked that the people of the Diocese of Wichita (but anyone can do this) pray to Jesus, through the intercession of Father Kapaun, for a miraculous cure of Father David Linnebur who is gravely ill with cancer. (Fr. Kapaun was a priest of the Wichita diocese a few decades ago, and the diocese is forwarding his cause for Sainthood to the Vatican.) If a miracle occurs, it would help towards the cause for Father Kapaun's canonization. Below, is the prayer that you to say daily, either as a family or individually. Thank you for joining in this very sacred cause.
Prayer to Fr. Kapaun
Father Emil Kapaun gave glory to God by following His call to the priesthood and thus serving the people of Kansas and those in the military. Father Kapaun, I ask your intercession not only for these needs which I mention now . . . but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks O Lord. Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.
I am going to send along information to Father Linnebur, and his parish, to ask for the intercession of Travis Chuff in their prayers on behalf of Father Linnebur. Travis was a young man of 18 who died on December 5, 2004, the Year of the Holy Eucharist. Everytime Holy Communion was brought to Travis, he would always receive Holy Communion on his knees. This included when he was near death. I would ask you too to ask Travis to intercede on behalf of Father Linnebur, and please pass this along to others on your prayer list. God Bless... Monsignor Little

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dedication Of The Church

On December 5, 2006, Bishop Joseph V. Adamec solemnly dedicated the new Saint Patrick Church, in Newry, Pennsylvania. "Mass is a little different tonight," said Bishop Adamec. The Bishop played an essential role in the dedication of the new Church for Saint Patrick Parish. The new Church has a seating capacity of 430 and is completely handicapped accessible. There are no steps. Another added convenience are restrooms right off the Narthex (the Vestibule The new Sanctuary has its own advantages. It is designed to impact the senses, making worship a tangible experience with its sights, sounds and smells. Incense, music and singing filled the ChurchTuesday evening. You would have thought you were in a Cathedral, it was that loud.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Outside Brick Nearly Complete

The outside brick work for the new church is nearly complete. The weather this week, rain, is slowing down its completion. Still, it does look very good, and everyone has been giving it very good reviews. Hopefully, the next publication will include pictures of the placing of the steeple that took place on Monday, August 30, 2006. One last request, if you know anyone who would assist us in raising funds by donating to the project, please be sure to pass along our blog's address: We have two ways to donate online. Thanks, and please keep the prayers going.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Transfer Of Father Bradley's "Jubilee Bell"

This week, a bit of history was made when the "Jubilee Bell" was removed from the present church tower, and was placed in the new church tower. It is called the "Jubilee Bell" because it was presented to the Reverend James Bradley on the occasion of his "Golden Jubilee," his fiftieth anniversary of Priesthood. Father Bradley was the second resident pastor of Saint Patrick's Church in Newry. He was born in Ireland and came to this country as a young student. He completed his studies at Mount Saint Mary's, Emmitsburg, Maryland and was ordained a priest in Sacred Heart Church, Conewago, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1830. He was ordained by Bishop Francis Kenrick. Years later, Father Bradley wrote: "I offered my first Holy Mass in the mission at Bedford and drove the same day thirty miles to Newry, where I said my second Mass. I then drove to Loretto, and after spending a few days with the Rev. Dr. Gallitzin, (now the Servant of God) I took charge of the Ebensburg congregation." He remained there two years. During that time, he built the first church in Johnstown, Saint John Gaulbert's. Father Bradley came to Newry in 1832. Although Father Bradley took up residence in Newry, he was able to say Mass there at the beginning of his tenure only one Sunday of the month. He was called to serve Saint Mary's, Hollidaysburg, where he built the present church; Saint Luke's , Sinking Valley (only a cemetery remains there), Holy Trinity, Huntingdon, and Saint Mary's, Shade Gap. For a brief time, he had care of the Bedford church, when the resident priest was assigned to Saint Paul's, Pittsburgh. The first task was to complete the unfinished church. Bishop Kenrick blessed the church August 11, 1833. This is the present church that is still in use. The Newry pastor had an eye on the spiritual needs of the entire area. When the railroad was carved out of the Blair county hills in the 1840's and 1850's, the construction crews were composed in the main of young Irishmen, who had fled a country scourged by famine. To provide for their spiritual comfort, Father Bradley built the first church in Altoona in 1851-1852. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament now occupies the site. It was a simple building, 65 feet in length by 35 feet in width. He said Mass there occasionally, until the Reverend John Tuigg was appointed resident pastor in 1853. Father Bradley registered his first Baptism December 15, 1832, John, son of John and Elizabeth Gowan. The last baptismal record over his name is April 14, 1879. By that time his sight was failing and he relinquished the work to others. Across the years of 47 years of active duty, he had baptized 1,805 persons. The parish records show 456 Marriages officiated by Father Bradley. When it became evident that Father Bradley was permanently incapacitated, the Reverend Richard Browne was assigned as Administrator. In the History of the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, published in 1880 this account of the Newry parish is given. "When Bishop O'Conner visited the parish in 1847, it numbered, as he states in his notes, about 400 souls. The congregation has continued for many years, as it will in the future, gradually to increase. The people are mostly Irish, or of Irish parentage. They have grown up around their common father, who has Baptized nearly all, and has watched over them and guided them with a father's care; and they, in turn, as it is but right, entertain for him sentiments of filial affection." Father Bradley died April 13, 1883. He is buried in the nearby cemetery with the grave marked by an imposing monument.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Reason For This Blog...

Saint Patrick Parish, in Newry, Pennsylvania is the oldest established Roman Catholic Church in Blair County. Established in 1816, this year we are celebrating our 190th Anniversary. By the Grace of God, in marking this anniversary, we are building a new parish church (the Architect's design for the building is the image to your left) for the 455 families and 1,072 members of the parish. A number, again, thank God, that continues to increase. We had hoped to have renovated and enlarged our present church, but, building codes and engineering studies proved this would be impossible. We are building a new church due to the fact we have no handicap accessible bathrooms, preventing several parishioners from participating at Mass. Or seating capacity is not sufficient to accommodate our growing Catholic community. To help with expenses, we are retaining, and moving everything possible (pipe organ, windows, statues, pews) for use in the new church. Our estimate for this project is more than a million dollars. With the permission of our Ordinary, we will be able to borrow money when it becomes necessary to complete the project. To date, our parish has paid nearly $200,000.00 in construction costs, but, it is going to become necessary to begin borrowing. Something I would rather delay, as much as possible. I am appealing to all parishes named under the patronage of Saint Patrick, as well as all the Catholic Churches in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you can find the resources to assist us, please know that we will deeply appreciate any assistance, regardless of the amount. Even $50.00 or $100.00 will help us immeasurably, if you, or your parishioners cannot afford more. All donations will be remembered with memorial plaques or paving stones (made from the old church) in front of the new church as a way of saying "Thank you." Please visit our website at to see the plans of our new church. Whether or not you are able to contribute to our cause at this time, kindly keep us in your prayers as we will keep you in ours. And keep coming back to this blog for information how to make contributions over the internet.