Tuesday, February 9th provided a wonderful occasion for parishioners and friends to celebrate both the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and Mardi Gras. Our Feast day also provided the opportunity to present our annual Fleur de Lis Awards and to also present a new parish award: The Pope Francis Award. Below, I write about our new winners and their lives of faithful service.
Ralph Strangis: Ralph and Grace Strangis have been parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes for many years. Ralph grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota School of Law. Ralph is one of the founding partners of Strangis, Kaplan, and Stangis, one of the most well regarded law firms in Minneapolis. Ralph has been a trustee for more than twenty years and has served three different pastors: Fr. Ward, Fr. Froehle, and me. When I look for parish trustees there are essential characteristics that must be present: faith, intelligence, courage, prudence, and accessibility. Ralph possesses all of these characteristics in abundance and I have not worked with a finer trustee than Ralph during my years as a pastor. Ralph has been steadfastly devoted to the well being and care of Our Lady of Lourdes for many years. Recently, Ralph was instrumental in right sizing the Nye’s development and in helping the parish reach the present compromise. For his extraordinary commitment to Our Lady of Lourdes we have awarded Ralph Strangis with a Fleur de Lis Award!
Deborah (Deb) Hamilton: Many do not know that Deb Hamilton is trained both as a medical doctor and an attorney. This surprises folks because Deb is so unassuming. Today when she is asked what she does, she says that she is a church lady. A Church Lady Extraordinaire is a more apt description! Deb grew up in Nebraska, but has been a resident of Minnesota for many years. Deb and Fred have been members of Lourdes for years, since Deb met Fr. Ward working as a doctor. Deb’s generous commitment of time and talent in so many ways has been inspiring. Deb has served our community of faith as a catechist, lector, as the organizer and executor of the parish meat pie bake, and as chair of our parish finance council. There is no job too small for Deb because of her humility and no job too big for Deb because of her competence. During Deb’s recent tenure on the finance council, the parish finances and procedures have significantly improved in terms of best practices and transparency. For her extraordinary commitment to Our Lady of Lourdes we have awarded Deb Hamilton with a Fleur de Lis Award!
Paul Piazza: Paul and his wife, Marilyn, have been parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes for many years. During this time they have been one of our most committed, faithful, and generous families of our parish community. Paul grew up in Minneapolis at St. Anne’s parish, but later he and Marilyn raised their family at Lourdes. Paul has served as a member of the pastoral council, finance council, and was chair of the liturgy committee. Paul has been a lector for many years and is a model of proclaiming God’s Word well! Paul has also trained servers at the parish and has served as a hospitality minister. Paul’s Italian roots are manifested in his culinary talent as he has prepared and made funeral lunches, directed the meat pie bake, and has prepared meals for both our Dinner for the Hungry and Loaves and Fishes ministries as well as our Cabrini Partnership. Additionally, Paul drives in Thursday mornings to set up, serve, and lector for morning Mass. Paul Piazza is a man of deep faith and generosity and for his extraordinary commitment to Our Lady of Lourdes we have awarded him a Fleur de Lis Award!
Grace Strangis: Last, but certainly not least Our Lady of Lourdes has awarded Grace Strangis with a new Pope Francis Award for her extraordinary service to the poor and marginalized! For many years Grace ran a successful travel company and has served on many non-profit boards in the Twin Cities. Rather than just retire from her successful business she decided, no doubt inspired by the Holy Spirit, to engage in international philanthropy and service. In 2009, Grace started Pathways to Children and the story of love and service manifested through her successful charitable work has been amazing. Through Pathways, Grace has founded orphanages, schools, and clinics to help lift children from poverty and to help serve people in their need. Currently, Grace’s work thought Pathways takes place simultaneously on three continents as she set up charitable outreach in India, Ethiopia, and Columbia. Grace’s latest contribution to spreading the social Gospel is through education. She has led mission trips with high school students from Sleepy Eye (Grace’s hometown), De La Salle, and Christo Rey in Minneapolis. Pope Francis has called Christians to reach out and serve those on the peripheries and margins of society. Grace Strangis has manifested extraordinary love and service to the poor and marginalized and thus is a most worthy recipient of the parish’s first Pope Francis Award! Check out Grace’s work at http://pathwaystochildren.org/.
Come and join us for our Lenten Retreat made available for both Men and Women.
Our Lady of Lourdes will have Stations of the cross every Friday during Lent at 12:30pm after the 12:05pm Mass.
A Conversation About Mercy with the author, Jeanne Bishop, and Parishioner, Hank Shea
Wednesday, February 24,
7:00 - 8:30 pm, Great Hall
Jeanne Bishop will have a book signing after the talk and her book will be available to purchase. (Free parking in the Riverplace Municipal Parking Ramp.)
Our Lady of Lourdes is the oldest church in continuous use in Minneapolis. Take our virtual tour!
Learn more about upcoming events at Our Lady of Lourdes.
Find out more about our Adult Faith Formation Great Hall Presentation Series