Parish to celebrate its entire ethnic heritage
St. Luke in Two Rivers plans special Mass on Sept. 15 at city's Central Park
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
How many countries are represented in the background of your parish?
That's what St. Luke Parish in Two Rivers plans to find out at a 5 p.m. Ethnic Mass on Sept. 15. The liturgy is in conjunction with the Two Rivers Ethnic Fest being held the same day at Two Rivers Central Park. Since St. Luke's is marking its sesquicentennial this year, it seemed an opportune time to celebrate the many cultures that make up the parish family.
"The Ethnic Mass came out of a similar celebration we had here at Two Rivers Catholic Central School for Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 28-Feb. 3)," said Fr. Larry Seidl, pastor of St. Luke/St. Mark. At that celebration, Fr. Seidl said, they learned that "we had a lot of heritages here that we don't always think of here in northeast Wisconsin."
These include family trees from New Zealand, Honduras, Peru, Korea and the Philippines, along with the area's "big four" cultural backgrounds of German, Polish, French and Czech. Just to make sure everyone's heritage was covered, the parish sent out a questionnaire for members to report their family backgrounds.
The Ethnic Mass will start with a procession of the flags of various countries, brought to the church for the Mass from Ethnic Fest, along with special prayers and hymns in various languages including Spanish, Russian, German, Polish and Hmong. The Lord's Prayer will be said in German.
The responsorial psalm will be read by members of the Ahmetovic family, whose resettlement from Bosnia was sponsored by St. Luke's in December 1999.
After Mass ends, the various national flags will remain in church, but the U.S. flag will be carried out. "This is to symbolize that out of many, we became one," said Julie Schroeder, a teacher at Two Rivers Catholic Central, who was also involved in the Catholic Schools Week celebration. Schroder says the parish hopes that some of those attending will come in costumes from various countries.
The Ethnic Mass will be followed on Sunday, Sept. 16, by a 2 p.m. performance by the All Saints Choir, a multi-cultural choir from Milwaukee.