Spring has sprung, and so we begin our 79th season at the National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, in Fonda NY. This is the Easter Season, and we remember with joy the baptism of our beloved Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Kateri was baptized on Easter Sunday in 1676 with the sacred water that flows here at her shrine.
With each season comes change, and this season brings significant changes to the shrine. At the end of May, we will say goodbye to Our Lady of the Angels Province friar Fr. Mark Steed, OFM Conv. Friar Mark will depart on May 23, 2017 to return to Canada. We are blessed that Friar Mark has celebrated so many wonderful Masses and special occasions with us. His homilies, always infused with deep meaning, greatly affected our lives. He has been responsible for many improvements to the shrine. We will hold a farewell gathering for Friar Mark after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Grassmann Hall. There will be no Tuesday and Thursday Masses at the shrine after May 18, 2017.
We also say goodbye to our gift shop manager, Ellen DiStefano, who is leaving to pursue other interests. We will miss Ellen and her warm and welcoming spirit.
Our property manager, Tom Gray, has been busy getting the shrine ready for our spring opening. Tom has spruced up Kateri’s Spring…removing leaves that collect over the winter, patching leaky concrete, and building a new bench for people to sit on comfortably while in prayer or quiet contemplation. Tom has nearly finished renovating the public restrooms behind Saint Peter’s Chapel. There are new doors, trim, and paint. The floors will be painted soon. Other renovations are planned for this season, such as the replacement of the large peace grove sign behind the pavilion and the installation of new trail markers.
Bill, Rita, and our Shrine Council have been busy upgrading our office systems and developing plans and programs that will enable the shrine to face the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Easter is a season of hope for the future. Spring reflects that hope. We ask for your prayers to guide us as we strive to keep the shrine vibrant, relevant, and alive as the seasons and the world continue to change.
Saint Kateri, pray for us.
Yours in Christ and Saint Kateri,