The school year is almost over but the activities do not lessen. At the beginning of the week our students were busy signing a Welcome Home Banner for an Army platoon that will be returning to Fort Huachuca after a year in Afghanistan. One of our teachers is an Army wife living on the Army Fort. She coordinated the project.
Fort Huachuca is the Home of the famous Buffalo Soldiers. The road that goes in front of the Fort is named for them - Buffalo Soldiers Trail. This is one of the oldest Army Forts and has a large area including the mountains. Soldiers are trained here for espionage. Many soldiers also come from a wide variety of foreign countries to be trained in espionage, such as Russia, England, and now even one from the Philippines.
As the week continued the priests of the Tucson Diocese met in Phoenix for their annual convocation. This gave the Student Council and myself a good opportunity to plan a surprise 45th birthday celebration for our pastor, Father Ariel, who was incardinated this week into the Diocese. Incardinated was a new word I learned. It means that a priest is formally accepted into another diocese and now belongs to that diocese.
We surprised Father Ariel at Mass with balloons decorating his office chair. His place of honor to sit while the students read 45 Reasons Why They Love Fr. Ariel. One of the reasons the students really loved was: Fr. Ariel wears cool clothes and if he was elected Pope he would be the first Pope to wear Abercrombie!
In conjunction with the parish's celebration of Father Ariel's 45th Birthday it was the night of the drawing of the raflle tickets for three prizes totalling $10,000. The profit from the raffle was to help pay off the parish's and school's mortgage.
The Parish Hall was packed for the event and the diversity of the parish could be seen in the potluck of cultural food from Mexican to Filipino. The entertainment also showed the diversity.
A winter visitor from North Dakota, who is a cowboy singer and poet, entertained all with his guitar and presented Father Ariel with his first cowboy hat as Father tried to sing his first cowboy song.
The Filipino ladies of our parish danced several Filipino dances for Father Ariel. Their costumes were beautiful and made by one of them. They get together every Sunday to practice their dances as they are always performing either at our parish or at St. Andrew's, our neighboring parish in the city.
The grand prize of our raffle for $5,000 was drawn by the school's Student Council President. It is nice to see the church and school coming together for events.
Can't have a birthday celebration without a cake. Father Ariel blew out the 45 candles on his cake. Look at the smoke!!!!
It is great to be a part of a city and parish with so much diversity. There is always something new to learn and see.
It is also fun to be a part of a parish that loves to party and celebrate. The stage in the hall really gets well used.
Next weekend it is the school's yard sale and car wash to help pay for new software for attendance and grades and new Religion books. After that we have an Appreciation BBQ for Teachers and Volunteers, May Crowning, First Holy Communion and a Last Blast for the students before the 23rd rolls around - the last day of school for students. Do you think we will have a quiet summer? If the fires don't come this summer we will be blest and we can then have our Summer Week Long Spanish Language and Culural Camp in July!