CARDINGTON — Sacred Hearts Catholic Church parishioners were excited to welcome Bishop Frederick Campbell and two past priests for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrow County Catholic community.
Parishioner Cheryl Jason was delighted to have Father John Bakle and Father Michael Kelly return for the occasion. Father Kelly was pastor of both St. Matthews in Mount Gilead and St. Joseph’s in Cardington from 1969-1971. That was just a year before the construction of Sacred Hearts that united the two parishes.
“Father Kelly married Mauri and me,” said Cheryl smiling. “I’m so glad he could come back. I just can’t stop smiling tonight.”
Bishop Campbell commended the congregation for their hard work and commitment.
“This is the first parish I have seen that is so dedicated,” said Campbell as he referred to the commitment of the church when it was rebuilt and dedicated just two years after it was destroyed by a fire in 2015.
Campbell began his speech by speaking about the 2,000-year history of the Catholic church. The bishop drew quite a few chuckles when he commented, “When looking back over thousands of years of church history, 150 years is a good beginning.”
Campbell noted that the first Catholic Church in Morrow County, St. Joseph’s in Cardington, was founded right after the civil war when the nation was seeking reconciliation. It was “a time when there was an explosion of wealth” in the United States as well as the coming of many immigrants who were catholic.
“The church came through two world wars and survived at a time when the Catholic Church faced much hostility,” said Campbell. “Through it all mass was said and the sacraments were celebrated.”
The bishop said it is time to remember with “extraordinary gratitude what was achieved and what was given to us.” He hoped “it will be a moment of recommitment and a time to consider how to increase, how to retain and how to pass the faith down for future generations.”
Sacred Hearts Pastor, Father Thomas Buffer thanked the bishop for his support of the parish over past difficult years. The late afternoon Mass was followed by a celebration dinner of roast pork and an anniversary cake.
Providing music for the mass was: organist, Angela Carbetta, trumpets and horns by the Allen Wagner family. Singing the responses were: Maddie Brehm and Julia Blankenship. Readings were given by Roxanne Humphrey, Bruce Molitor and Deacon, Todd Tuckey of Marion St. Mary’s Church. Sacristy responsibility was done by Joanne Bower.
Cooking and serving dinner were: Kathy Gerasimof, Erin Wright, Martha Meier, Ginny Schindley and Chris Clapper. Knights of Columbus included: Carl Ferguson, Will Schindley, Lance Curtis, Paul O’Brien, Chris Speise and Ron Meier.