SAU CFDD
Aug 312011
 

Kyle Sinnott, left, and Joseph Sinnott process corn in late July before next month’s God’s Portion Day for St. Patrick Parish in Georgetown.

By Sharon Crall

Since the Civil War era, St. Patrick Parish in Georgetown has been gathering its church family together. More than 150 years later, parishioners and “alumni” are preparing to celebrate their parish’s annual fundraiser, God’s Portion Day weekend Sept. 3-4.

It was back in 1860 when work started on the building that would come to be known by pioneer travelers as the “Cathedral in the Wilderness.” The Irish immigrants settling around Georgetown had fond memories of the large stone church buildings left behind in Ireland, and patterned their new building after those Irish church buildings. Through their hard efforts, the pioneer parishioners quarried the sandstone from Babb’s Quarry, four miles to the east of the building site, and hauled the stone by oxen team. By use of a windlass pulley, the stone was hoisted in place with a mortar solution providing the glue to hold the stones in place. That mortar must have been some concoction as the church building still stands to this day and has withstood two tornadoes.

However, work on the massive stone structure was interrupted by the Civil War. Men were either recruited to fight in the war or had to work extra hard on the surrounding farms. According to parish records, the walls were about window high when work was aborted for a few years. After the war, when the men returned home, their priority was to finish the church building they had begun.

And for the last 52 years parishioners, alumni, natives and friends have been gathering from miles around for God’s Portion Day weekend. Many hours have gone into preparation for this year’s event. Each year, current parishioners and faithful natives join together to make the fundraiser a success.

Ellen Sinnott, an “alumna” of St. Patrick’s Parish who lives in Des Moines, has been helping out with the dinner for about 20 years. “You’re surrounded by family and friends. You feel love and you feel safe there. You just want to go back and help,” she said.

“I wouldn’t miss it. It’s our home,” said St. Patrick’s alumnus Kenan Judge of Des Moines. “Anything we can do to help … I’d walk down there to do it.” He works in the merchandise tent, but is willing to do whatever he’s asked to do. Last year, he rang the bell for deceased parishioners to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone.

The weekend’s events begin Saturday, Sept. 3, with the Second Annual Georgetown Open Golf Tournament held at the Albia Country Club. Shotgun start is 10 a.m. Prizes will be awarded. Pans for the fried chicken will be fired up at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, in preparation for the guests who will partake in the homegrown meal.

The menu features fried chicken/roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, homegrown sweet corn, green beans, salad bar, rolls, and a choice of homemade pie or other desserts. Cost is $8 for individuals ages 12 and older and $3 for younger children. Carryouts may be ordered until 5 p.m. Sept. 3 by calling Mary Ann Crall at (641) 932- 5961 or Tiffany DeMoss at (641) 932-2139.

Prior to the dinner, Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Graduates or their representatives will be recognized and honored before Mass at 9:45 a.m. The Georgetown High School classes of 1921, 1931, 1941, 1951 and 1961, and Albia Community High School classes of 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 will be represented.

Children’s games start at 11:30 a.m. and adults can visit the country store. The silent auction starts at noon and concludes at 4 p.m. The grand auction starts at 1:30 p.m. on the south church grounds.The menu features fried chicken/roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, homegrown sweet corn, green beans, salad bar, rolls, and a choice of homemade pie or other desserts. Cost is $8 for individuals ages 12 and older and $3 for younger children. Carryouts may be ordered until 5 p.m. Sept. 3 by calling Mary Ann Crall at (641) 932- 5961 or Tiffany DeMoss at (641) 932-2139.

Prior to the dinner, Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Graduates or their representatives will be recognized and honored before Mass at 9:45 a.m. The Georgetown High School classes of 1921, 1931, 1941, 1951, 1961, and Albia Community High School classes of 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 will be represented.

Children’s games start at 11:30 a.m. and adults can visit the country store. The silent auction starts at noon and concludes at 4 p.m. The grand auction starts at 1:30 p.m. on the south church grounds.

Auction includes religious articles, household items

The God’s Portion Day auction includes furniture, frames and mirrors from the former parish rectory; several quilts which will create an Avenue of Quilts along the church sidewalk; a framed picture/painting of the church taken by Ron Clester; a framed picture by Clester of the statue in the parish cemetery taken under the stars; a football which will be delivered to Kurt Ferrentz for his autograph; tickets to sporting events; overnight stays at hotels; Irish items and religious articles.

Raffle tickets are being sold by parish members for a variety of travel packages, groceries and cash prizes. The day will conclude with a lawn social. Pork sandwiches and brats will be sold. Grounds close at 9 p.m. For more information, call Sharon Crall (641) 932-5589 or (641) 932-5961.

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