A spiritually uplifting, festive celebration occurred in St. Walburg June 23.
Father Dan Yasinski, a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest celebrated his first mass in St. Walburg at 11 a.m. at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish Church.
Yasinski was born and raised in St. Walburg. His parents, and Madeline Yasinski raised their family of seven children in the community. His grandfather, Lucien Bonnet, also lives in St. Walburg and was present throughout Sunday's activities.
By 10:35 a.m. about 40 to 50 people were already present in the church. This is unusual as 10:50 a.m. is when most parishioners usually begin to file in. The church was filled before 11 a.m. in anticipation of Father Dan's mass. John Micheal Pozinuk was the main usher and had to scan the spaces carefully to find seats for everyone.
Myra and Maurice Champigny greeted parishioners and special visitors as they filed into Church. At 11 o'clock parish council president, John Miller, introduced and welcomed the celebrants.
Father Lucien Larre, grand uncle to Father Dan co-celebrated the mass. Father Lucien has been St. Walburg's favourite visiting 'home town' priest for about 50 years. His quick wit and theological command of the Catholic faith are legendary across Canada and further. He is always welcome in St. Walburg.
John Miller thanked the congregation for their attendance and, before the mass began, explained that Assumption Parish Council had gifted Father Dan two chasubles. One green to be worn during "ordinary" times and one purple tent during Lent. The green one was used for this Sunday mass and specific mention was made because the entire parish is actually the presenter of this gift.
As the mass began, Sandra Halseth was first reader, Cindy and daughter Cherise Schlekewy and Gloria Segiun led the music and singing. Ron Schlekewy was second reader.
Father Lucien Larre delivered the homily. As usual he had everyone laughing at his funny recollections of past occurrences. He said we are living in a society in which the Ten Commandments, God and sin are almost totally ignored. The craving for pleasure power and 'pride in self' are diabolic temptations which lead us into a harmful fear of sacrifice and suffering. Suffering with a joyful trust and obedience to God is a prime tenant of Catholicism.
Birdie Miller, Judy Seguin, Helen Lukan, Father Dan, Gil Gramlich, Dean Powell and Susan Velder acted as Eucharistic ministers. Mass servers were Miarr Schlekewy, Aiden and Sam Powell.
After mass Father Dan said a few words of thanks and appreciation, humbly stating that he is willing and content to be St. Walburg's priest in so far as that is the wish of the region. The hand clapping and number of persons present clearly indicated this is the case. Father Dan has been posted within the Saskatoon Disease where his formal work will happen.
About 250 persons attended a delicious feast in the Parish Centre immediately after mass. George Bonnet, an uncle to Father Dan acted as MC. A short program provided entertainment.
Rosemarie Hemmelgarn and Gloria Segiun sang a fun song invented by them to the tune of a Neil Diamond hit. The local Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League made presentations to Father Dan - a pastor's mass case and a cheque for $1,000. Knight Maurice Champigny and Myra Champigny of the CWL made the presentations. Father Lucien spoke briefly and presented Father Dan with a Catholic study program by Father Robert Barron.
A brief slide show featuring Father Dan and his life to date was enjoyed. Father Lucien and his sister Marie sang an original version of Danny Boy accompanied musically by Frank Simonot.
The meal which featured numerous salads , meats, desserts, a huge "congratulations" to Father Dan cake and beverages was a true feast. The cake was baked by grand aunt Marie Simonot and decorated by Suzanne Simonot and Eileen Robertson. The meal was provided free of charge by the relatives of Father Dan with some help of the parish. The hall was handsomely decorated in keeping with the event. Dawn McKellar produced a beautiful banner which read "Congratulations Father Dan." Paulette and Curtis Wagner had the Yasinski twins, Danny and David, be ring bearers at their wedding some years ago.
At the time Paulette told Danny that if he became a priest she'd present him with a stole made from a bridesmaid's dress. Judy Seguin was up to the task so Father Dan was given a very nice "bridesmaid dress" stole.
Finally Father Dan thanked everyone for participation in this and in his life in general.
People in attendance agreed that the whole day was a celebratory, spiritually inspiring one to remember