9/17/2013 10:42:00 AM Queen of Peace celebrates 50 years of worship
Catholic Sentinel photos by Rick Keating
Fr. Tim Mockaitis calls the Founders to the altar for a blessing.
Following a special blessing, past Queen of Peace parish clergy Fr. John Betts and Msgr. Don Buxman, current pastor Fr. Tim Mockaitis, and newly ordained Father Aniceto Guiriba, congratulate the parish founders.
SALEM — Queen of Peace Church members present and past gathered Sept. 6-8 for the 50th anniversary of the parish’s dedication.
Nearly 100 volunteers organized the weekend’s liturgy, music, children’s activities, historical displays, ministry exhibits and food. The event culminated with a Sunday Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Alexander Sample, followed by a picnic dinner attended by more than 600 people.
The celebration kicked off Friday with an ice cream social at the school. In addition to displays sharing the good work of several of the parish’s 40 ministries, a series of banners depicted the past 50 years of the parish and school.
Founding families were honored Saturday during a service concelebrated by current and former clergymen including pastor Father Tim Mockaitis, Msgr. Don Buxman, Father John Betts and Father Aniceto Guiriba, who served as a deacon intern last year. Father Guiriba is now parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Albany.
“At the end of Mass, I called forward those founding members of our parish for a special blessing and recognition of their years of sacrifice and service to the parish community,” said Father Mockaitis, adding that the reception afterward was joyful and well attended. During the main celebration Mass, the archbishop spoke to parishioners about remembering the past as they build upon the faith that has been passed down over the years.
Archbishop Sample’s mother Joyce was in attendance; she stayed for an hour after the Mass visiting with parishioners. The Knights of Columbus coordinated the picnic and also provided the honor guard during the Sunday Mass.
Organizers estimate the parish had approximately 1,000 visitors over the course of the weekend.
Queen of Peace was officially established in 1963 as a daughter parish of St. Joseph Church in Salem. At its start, Queen of Peace was faith community to 400 families and two priests. Father Francis Hanley was the first pastor.
Over 50 years the parish has grown to nearly 1,600 families with a vibrant school of 136 students, pre-kindergarteners through fifth-graders.
“Everything went smoothly and we were blessed with beautiful weather for the weekend as well,” Father Mockaitis said.