ANNUAL EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS UNIQUE TO ST. MARY PARISH
Feast Day of our Patroness,
Help of Christians
is a highlight on the calendar of events each year.
Father Cyril Zupan, chose the name St. Mary Help of Christians when the
church began in May of 1895. The name is derived from the same Slovenian
title - Our Lady of Brezje that was Father Cyril's homeland.
celebration begins at dusk on the eve of the Feast Day, May 23rd with a
candle lighting service held in the church. The service includes a
Marian Litany, Scripture Readings and Benediction. Following the church
service...the faithful process to the Holy Mary Prayer Garden while
singing Marian Hymns and carrying candles. They are then led by the
priest in the praying of the rosary. Rosaries sent to St. Mary's from
Brezje are usually available for a donation of $10.00. Rosaries can
be ordered by calling 719-564-6779 or by emailing
is much unrest in the ethnic area represented by our founding fathers,
we continue to participate in the Resolution presented by the
Coordinating Committee for Slovenian Participation in the 41st
International Eucharistic Congress in Washington D.C:
"that every year on the Eve of the feast of Our Lady of Brezje, our
Patroness and Protector of Slovenian heritage, we light a candle and
spend the evening in meditation. We reflect on the Christian values and
traditions that guided our people through the centuries, that mold us
today and through us the nation where we live."
Mass on the
feast day is celebrated with full ethnic color. The Preseren Choir, in
Slovenian attire provide the liturgical music adapted to customary
Slovenian melodies. Following the Mass, the congregation is then treated
to a dinner that features ethnic food. For many years the St. Joseph
Lodge #7 KSKJ (American Slovenian Catholic Union) has funded the event.
Adoration of the Blessed
Church is very fortunate in having in residence the Servants of the
Blessed Sacrament, who provide and supervise both daily and nocturnal
adoration for the parish and community. The Blessed Sacrament is
exposed from Monday through Friday daily following the 8 a.m. Mass.
There is hourly adoration, praying of the rosary and liturgy. Adoration
closes after evening prayer at 5 p.m. The Thursday adoration closes at
9:00 p.m. and Saturday's adoration closes at noon. Sunday hours are 2:00
to 5:00 p.m.
first Saturday of each month, parishes from the city alternate hours of
adoration under the title of Nocturnal Adoration Society.
residing at St. Mary's Convent, 311 East Mesa are
Sisters Ricella, Grogorius and Teresita of the Congregation of the
During Lent and in preparation for the Easter Season
the parish is involved in many different
activities, some cultural and some spiritual.
Wednesday during Lent, a Mass is celebrated at noon followed by a light
lunch of meatless soup and bread. Everyone is invited and there is no
charge. However, contributions are placed in the Operation Rice Bowl
boxes on the tables. This provides for the annual donation that is sent
to the Catholic Relief Services for the hungry of the world.
American Slovenian Catholic Union celebrates Mass with a corporate
communion followed by an ethnic breakfast. An added color to Palm Sunday
is the importing of "butarice"
palms from Ljubljana, Slovenia that are available at a nominal fee.
These colorful butarice
decorate the sanctuary on Palm Sunday along with the descriptive velvet
panels that depict the gospels of each week during Lent.
Blessing of the authentic Easter Food baskets (Zegen)
takes place. Included in each basket are the ethnic foods that are a
representation of the Passion of Our Lord. Throughout the years
different connotations are derived, but the symbolism remains.
Feast of Saint Nicholas
This is a
favorite celebration for both young and old. Although it is a
celebration that emanated in Slovenia, it became a part of the Christmas
activities here when the parish began. A statue of St. Nicholas was
purchased in the early 1900's in honor of the special event.
celebration is held the first Saturday of December in order to coincide
with the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. As has been the custom,
in recent years the faithful are asked to bring a Christmas gift for a
child to be placed at the foot of the St. Nicholas statue during the
Offertory procession at Mass. These gifts are then distributed to the
needy children through Catholic Social Services. Following the Mass a
reception is held. Children are presented a bowl of candy, nuts,
orange and the customary coin (nickel). These bowls are also delivered
to the home bound of the parish who are unable to attend the event.
These are often given out by the Parish priest dressed in the costume of
the infamous St. Nicholas, who is accompanied by Rupert, his assistant.
evolved from its first celebration until such time as Rev. Blane Bebble
O.S.B. suggested that a story be written about St. Nicholas' life for
the young people to relate to. He asked Bernice Krasovec to write such a
story and as a result, it became a children's book written in verse. It
continues to be available.
Fund-raisers in the parish
events always display some type of ethnic and cultural
flavor. Throughout the years Spaghetti Dinners,
Harvest Soup Festivals and Slovenian Heritage Celebrations are held. At
most of the events, the ladies and gentlemen make home-made noodles,
strudels, potica, etc. to feature at bake sales.
As a result of the variety of ethnic foods that are
sought by friends and as a need for raising revenue, two cookbooks have
been printed. The first book, St. Mary's Cook Book done in a notebook
form and the Slovenian Heritage Cook Book that featured the recipes from
the Harvest Soup Festival and Lenten Soups were created.