By Mary Quilici Aumack
The Catholic Community Foundation
In March of 2012, I wrote an article about the Mass of Dedication at Our Lady of Refuge. I knew even then that this would be a very special parish. At that time, I thought, “What is more worth celebrating than a new Parish, signified by an overflowing church?”
Now I have an answer to that question: Celebrating the success of that parish many years later!
Last month I was privileged to attend a celebration, thanking the supporters and recognizing the great strides of this vibrant Catholic community.
Monsignor Rios gave a heartfelt “thank you” to the donors who enabled the purchase of the parish grounds and church. He also extended gratitude to the four parishes who “adopted” Our Lady of Refuge and provided multi-year support: Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Lavang, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and St. Simon.
He also told us a lot about the parish. There are now over 500 children in faith formation classes. This year, 185 of them received sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
Sally Samaniego, the chair of events for the parish, introduced several parishioners who entertained us with dances signifying their Hispanic and Filipino heritages.
In his homily back in 2012, Bishop McGrath reminded us that the Church transcends all bounds of structural places and is truly a collection of believers. The believers in our wonderful diocese have embraced Our Lady of Refuge. In giving his blessing at the celebration, Bishop McGrath added his thanks to the 15,000+ donors who made the vision of a new “place” for the Santee Mission a reality.
As I participated in the joyful celebration, I was ever more grateful to our donors for their deep generosity. The fruits of this philanthropy will continue season after season for generations to come as we help children attend Catholic school, support our seminarians, and grant money in recognition of effective parish programs.
Together we are building FOREVER VALUE.
We are grateful.