December 1, 2021 | Your Stories

Children paint pumpkins during Our Lady of Lourdes Parish’s Oct. 24, 2021 block party. COURTESY OF DANNY MAY

Our Lady of Lourdes block party welcomes neighbors, reunites parish families

BY DANNY MAY, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC

It was a warm, but windy day in Owensboro on Oct. 24, 2021. The sound of live music could be heard from the parking lot. A pair of inflatable dinosaurs high-fived kids as they arrived. There were tables for painting pumpkins, a bean bag toss and other games for the kids, free food, and parishioners handing out candy along the “trail of treats” along decorated tables.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Knights of Columbus provided hotdogs, drinks, and popcorn as families mingled and kids played and giggled, pointing at the costumes walking by. For the community at Lourdes, it was one of the first chances to gather socially as a parish family since the pandemic.

Fr. J. Patrick Reynolds, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Owensboro, hands out popcorn to children attending the parish’s Oct. 24, 2021 block party. COURTESY OF DANNY MAY

The 2021 block party ended with a Spanish Mass celebrated by Fr. Ray Clark with a homily by Dcn. Chris Gutiérrez and music provided by musicians from Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish in Owensboro.

The annual block party also serves as a way to welcome neighbors within walking distance. The event originated as a “trunk or treat” the night before Halloween several years ago, but was moved inside the parish hall and renamed “the pumpkin patch” for a few more years. Then in 2017, the event expanded and evolved into a block party held in the lawn along Time Drive and a live band, hayride, and balloon animals were added. To extend the invitation beyond the parish, a group of parishioners walk the neighborhood and hang fliers door-to-door.  

It truly has become an event the whole parish supports as members from several different committees coordinate the block party.

Our Lady of Lourdes’ pastor, Fr. J. Patrick Reynolds, recalled an encounter with a family at the block party.

“We were standing by the pumpkin patch display and a Latina mother was standing there with her kids. I pointed at a pumpkin said in my very broken Spanish ‘En español, calabaza.’ She smiled and nodded and said to me, ‘In Guatemala, auyama’. So that little interaction let me know that she was from Guatemala and spoke a Guatemalan dialect. The block party in that sense just made me more aware of who our neighbors are and where they’re from, and that’s a good thing as we try to be more welcoming.” 

“Each year the Lourdes Block Party has been enthusiastically received by our parishioners and neighbors,” said Rosemary O’Brien, who helped coordinate the block party. “With the addition of the Spanish Mass this year, we are improving our outreach to our neighbors as well as providing a new experience for many of our parishioners. This was a wonderful and fun way to welcome the fall season and we hope to improve on this event as the years go by.”

Danny May is the director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Owensboro. Learn more at owensborodiocese.org/office-of-marriage-family-life.  


Originally printed in the December 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

 

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