A Green Cathedral

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the CYO Emerald Knights Band performs before the annual Outdoor Mass Sunday. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY )

Published ShowDateNew(“20090706002145”);July 6, 2009 | 12:21 a.m.

A green cathedral

Catholics bring faith outdoors

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By Karen Mahoney
kenosha news correspondent

Crowds flock to Lake Michigan for a variety of reasons in the summer. Boating, nature hikes, lounging at the beach and bicycling are the norm.

However, for many Kenosha residents and visitors, summer is also a chance to experience Mass in a different, more relaxed light. Under sunny skies and a slight morning breeze, hundreds of Catholics bowed their heads during the opening prayer at the annual Mass for Vocations in Pennoyer Park on Sunday.

Sponsored by the Kenosha Serra Club, CYO Emerald Knights Band and Color Guard, and the Catholic parishes of Kenosha, the Mass was preceded by music from the 70-year-old CYO Band, and the combined choirs of the Kenosha Catholic parishes.

The outdoor Mass was an opportunity to worship in God’s beautiful domain, said the Rev. William Hayward, pastor at St. Peter Parish.

“With this beautiful landscape, we can only imagine how much better it is when we get to where he wants us to be,” Hayward said. “This is wonderful being outside worshipping our Almighty God, and this sits well with Catholics in the area….We love to be outside and celebrate our love for God.”

Hayward recognized the 70th anniversary of music by the CYO Band and Color Guard.

“They are such an important part of the Kenosha community,” he said. “They have brought wonderful music to our area, and I’m so glad, that despite all the cutbacks in music across the country, that music is still important in our city.”

Hayward also praised the 21 years of service of the Kenosha Chapter of Serra International, a group dedicated to praying and encouraging vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and encouraging those who live their lives in service to God.

“You have sponsored this Mass when we have had bishops and archbishops celebrating here,” he said. “You are a dedicated group who care, thank you Serrans.”

While the beauty of the landscape, freedom, jobs and families are important, people must look beyond to the reasons that they are on earth, Hayward said in his homily.

“Our experiences, while not bad, they are not enough,” he said. “We have freedom given to us by our courageous forefathers, but while it is wonderful, it is not enough. If we have freedom from tyranny but still sin, it is not enough. If we rest on the Sabbath, but for no purpose, it is not enough and if we have our health, while it is great, it is still not enough.”

The key to giving life meaning and purpose lies in the Holy Eucharist, Hayward said. During tough times, happy times or in any situation, it is the Eucharist that continues to sustain Catholics and build up their souls and themselves as part of the Body of Christ.

“We put Christ’s body and blood into us and take it as food,” he said. “We affirm that he is God’s son and our savior and that makes it all enough.”

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