Father Irek: moved by the Spirit

red_balloonHow fitting it is that someone who has helped breathe life into our parish community during the past seven years – also led the final children’s liturgy on the solemn feast of Pentacost.

Father Irek, one of the good shepherds of St. Agnes Parish, gathered the children and invited them to sit around the altar steps one last time to teach them about the Holy Spirit.

With red balloon in one hand and an artist’s representation of the Pentacost event in the other, Father shared with his captive young flock the importance of air in giving shape and life to inanimate objects.

After filling the balloon with his own breath, he urged the children to do the same by giving each of them their own balloon and asking them to invite the Holy Spirit help them to breathe life into their own families and community.

To further illustrate the point he was making, Father showed the children, much to their delight, what happens when a balloon quickly deflates as when the life is sucked out of a community.

Though we will dearly miss Father Irek, his quirky sense of humor, special children’s liturgy homilies and all the many unique gifts of the spirit he brought to the St. Agnes community – we also wish him our deep heart-felt thanks and all the best in his new role at St. Ambrose Parish in Cambridge.

We are confident that the same loving spirit that led him into our community will guide him safely along during the next stage of his sacred apostolic journey.

Photo Credit: Marv

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Field of dreams now a reality

StDavid-flyover-willkWhen community groups collaborative for the benefit of current and future generations – good things happen.

Take St. David catholic secondary school in Waterloo, Ontario for example. This week saw the official opening of the school’s artificial turf multiuse sports field facility, the first such multi-purpose athletic complex in a Waterloo Region high school.

This amazing sports venue features a regulation field for football, soccer, field hockey, and extreme Frisbee. It also includes a six-lane track, a field house, artificial lighting and an electronic score clock.

Some people have criticized the construction project as too costly
($ 2 million) and extravagant, especially in light of the recent economic downturn. But this innovative community partnership has already resulted in seasonal rental agreements with a variety of community groups.

The Waterloo Catholic district school board plans to recover its costs over 10 years by charging fees to community groups like Waterloo Minor Soccer, Twin City Tackle Football and the University of Waterloo Athletics Department.

The state-of-the-art artificial turf can host 3,000 hours of play a year compared to 400 hours for a grass field. The field can now be used from early March until December and will not incur the maintenance costs that real grass would necessitate.

Having coached both boys and girls soccer teams while at St. David over the years – I can attest to the overall pounding the knees and ankles of my soccer players were forced to absorb on the previous rut and hole-riddled field. It’s impossible to put a price tag on a healthy athlete’s ACL / MCL but over the long haul the savings to the Ontario health care system may, alone, be worth the investment.

Kudos to the Waterloo Catholic district school board for boldly taking the risk to invest in the future, to forge new innovative community partnerships and for making this field of dreams a welcome reality.

Photo Credit: Will Knapp

Photo Caption: St. David Catholic secondary school students spell Celtics – the name of their teams at the official opening of the Waterloo school’s new artifical turf sports field.