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 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinApril 9, 2004 Issue 

Diocese to celebrate Rural Life/St. Isidore Days

Lakewood and Kellnersville will host events to celebrate those who care for the land

By Renae Bauer
Communications Department

Think of rural life and the image of a traditional farm family probably comes to mind. In reality, anyone who gardens or enjoys the great outdoors has many of the same vested interests as a farmer does.

To celebrate the work and stewardship of all who care for land, the Diocese of Green Bay will celebrate Rural Life Days festivities on Thursday, April 15, at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Lakewood with Auxiliary Bp. Robert Morneau, and on Thursday, April 22, at St. Joseph Parish in Kellnersville with Bp. David Zubik.

The schedule for both days is:

• 10:30 a.m. - Liturgy followed by the blessing of seeds, soil, animals and machinery

• Noon - lunch

• 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Lakewood event will feature CBS 5 meteorologist Tom Mahoney;

Kellnersville event will feature Fr. Tim Shillcox, O.Praem., former pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Bay Settlement

Luncheon tickets are $5.50 per person and can be purchased from the host parish up to five days before that site's event. For Lakewood tickets, call 715-276-7364; for Kellnersville tickets, call 920-732-3770.

For at least two decades, Rural Life Days has called together rural communities to celebrate the Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer (patron saint of farmers and rural communities) and ask God for a safe and prosperous farming season. The ritual blessing of seeds, soil, animals and machinery is very natural since each plays a critical role in successful farming, says Mary Stubler, the diocesan consultant for rural life ministry and marriage preparation ministry.

"The seeds that are blessed go into the ground about two weeks after the Rural Life Days Mass," she says. Fertile soil and healthy animals are "musts" for success, and "farmers need machinery to make this happen and keep workers safe. It's a risky profession." The two Rural Life celebrations are collaborative endeavors between the host parishes and the Diocese. A host parish typically plans the Liturgy and sells the luncheon tickets, which help defray the cost of the lunch. "When a parish agrees to host a Rural Life Days celebration, it's a real gift to the Diocese," says Stubler.

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