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St. Joseph Catholic Church held a special Founders Day mass Saturday in celebration of the city’s Irish heritage
St. Joseph Catholic Church held a special Founders Day mass Saturday in celebration of the city’s Irish heritage

Founders Day mass celebrates history, unity

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news Rosemount, 55024

Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The founding families of St. Joseph Church included last names like Hyland, McGrath, Shaughnessy, O’Gorman, Burke, McDonough and Murphy. There’s no doubt in its early days, the church had a strong Irish influence.

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Turns out the founding families of Rosemount shared many of those same last names. There were other nationalities, but the Irish presence was strong enough that Rosemount’s nickname became the Irish and its annual summer festival is called Leprechaun Days.

To celebrate that Irish heritage, St. Joseph Church held a special Founders Mass Saturday evening in conjunction with Leprechaun Days events.

“The new annual Founders Mass honors the ‘reason for the (Leprechaun) season.’The Irish settlers, after whom our athletic teams and RHS activities are named…. Even St. Joseph School’s teams are named the Celtics because of the Irish settlers,” said Fr. Paul Jarvis.

To commemorate the event, mayor Bill Droste issued a proclamation naming July 26, 2014 Irish Setters Day in the city of Rosemount.

The proclamation states that alongside the Scots, Germans and other 19th-century settlers, the Irish created the basis for the successful community that exists today.

“It’s a wonderful way to look back and to recognize the people and the hardships they face in establishing our community,” said Droste.

Jarvis said the point of the mass wasn’t to exclude anyone but to celebrate the thing we’ve all come to embrace about Rosemount.

“We’re all a little bit Irish during Leprechaun Days,” said Jarvis.

To drive home that point, Jarvis asked Pastor Karen Bruins, from Rosemount United Methodist Church, to share in the celebration with some words of ecumenism. Rosemount United Methodist Church also has roots dating back to the 1860s. The protestant church was established by German immigrants moving into the area.

At the time, Bruins said there was a separation between Protestants and Catholics because of fear and misunderstanding. As an example, Bruins shared the story of Fred, a longtime Rosemount UMC member who immigrated to the United States from Holland in 1910.

“He talked about how strange it was to move to Rosemount. He didn’t know the land, the customs and he didn’t know English or German,” said Bruins.

One night, Fred’s parents received a visit from some of the locals and they told them, “Be ye Irish, be ye Catholic, or be ye gone.”

Bruins then expressed gratitude to live during a time that there is unity among followers of Jesus Christ. The congregations of Rosemount United Methodist and St. Joseph have been working to do more together, including an ecumenical Thanksgiving Day service and a Taize Prayer worship series.

“I’m excited about the ecumenical partnership in ministry that is growing between the clergy, our worship arts staff and our congregations,” said Bruins.

Jarvis said it no longer works to define ourselves by what we are not.

“Today’s younger generation doesn’t see their identity as being what they are not. It is not bound in difference. And it is much more in what we have in common,” said Jarvis.

Going forward, Jarvis said the two congregations hope to collaborate and pray together often. He said the two churches are looking into creating even more opportunities for Christians of all traditions to gather.

As a sign of friendship, Bruins and Jarvis anointed one another with oils during the mass. Jarvis said the gesture received applause from parishioners.

Following the mass, the church hosted a celebration including food, a classic car show, kids’ activities and more. Jarvis said St. Joseph plans to host the Founders Mass annually.

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