BEND DAILY NEWS
only Mass celebrates St. Patrick
closed in 1999, but service held each year on March 17
By LARRY HANSON
Times Press Editor
ERIN — The Rev. Dave LaPlante was walking around St. Patrick’s Chapel
after Mass Wednesday morning offering a large plate of cookies to those
who were in attendance. Being St. Patrick’s Day, those cookies all had
seven green M&M’s on them.
Mass at St. Patrick’s is an annual tradition for the parish community of
St. Kilian’s in Hartford and also for those who were among the 450 members
of St. Patrick’s when it closed in 1999. It is the only Mass held each
year, although the building, festooned with stained glass windows and a
low balcony in the rear, is occasionally opened for funerals and weddings.
LaPlante said it was a big day and noted how appropriate the service is
because, “We have a lot of Irish in Hartford and the areas around Thompson
in the Town of Erin.”
LaPlante’s homily, after a reading from the Gospel of John, was about the
challenges St. Patrick faced when he arrived in Ireland and St. Kilian, an
Irishman, went to Germany. “We’re called to be ambassadors of peace, like
St. Patrick was to Ireland,” LaPlante said from the altar.
150 people attended the Mass, most of them decked out in green.
takes the place of the daily Mass at St. Kilian’s,” LaPlante said. “It’s a
good thing to see people celebrating in religious fashion.”
handful of parishes in the area, including St. Gabriel’s, Holy Hill and
St. Kilian’s, St. Patrick was closed and the parishioners disbursed among
those communities. St. Kilian’s has 1,320 families listed as members.
Fitzsimmons-Vanden Heuvel was a member of St. Patrick’s when it closed and
is a member of the St. Patrick Preservation Fund. She said her family
moved to Erin specifically to attend that church and now attend weekly
Mass at Holy Hill. “We still feel it’s a beautiful church,” Fitzsimmons-Vanden
Heuvel said. “I think it’s the anchor of the town of Erin.” LaPlante has
been very understanding and cooperative to the former members of St.
Patrick’s and she loves the annual March 17 Mass, she said.
is a day you can always count on the church to be open,” Fitzsimmons-Vanden