Immaculate Conception marks start of centennial year in Hendersonville
HENDERSONVILLE — Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville kicked off its 100th anniversary year Sept. 17 with a Mass, banquet and parish procession led by a banner depicting the motto which the community has selected as its centennial theme: "Though Many ... We are One."
Father Nick Mormando, OFM Cap., pastor, and Father John Salvas, OFM Cap., parochial vicar, concelebrated the bilingual Mass and helped lead the procession of 400-plus people from the church to the auditorium of Immaculata School, where parishioners enjoyed a dinner and music provided by members of the parish's Latino community.
It was the first of what will be monthly celebrations highlighting the growth of the parish, its faith and its diversity.
"So many things are going on right now," said Father Mormando as he greeted the parishioners pouring into the dinner. "It is absolutely amazing!"
"Each month the church will offer a celebration hosted by one of the groups serving the parish," said Catherine Lynch, event planner and chairman of the parish's Justice for Immigrants group.
The co-chairmen of the 100th anniversary planning committee, Kathy and Jim Meersman, are working with many parish groups to assure each month's event will be as successful as the first.
"Father (Mormando) wanted us to do a lead-in to the anniversary," said Kathy Meersman. "We wanted to do this with the theme of 'Do this in remembrance of Me.' We feel it is important to be Christ in the community, to be Christ-like in everything we do. All the ministries have stepped up to the plate."
"It's incredible to think that 100 years ago the church began with seven families and 19 members," she noted. "Today we serve over 1,600 families."
"The Church is doing so much!" added Sandy Donecho, parish faith formation director. "You can't believe how many things are going on in the Catholic churches in western North Carolina. We are coming together and it is an amazing time. People should know how much we are doing and how much more we are trying to do."
Other upcoming events include Life Teen hosting a celebration in October, and the Stewardship Council hosting an evening of reflection in November that will focus on the Luminous Mysteries and on Eucharistic Adoration.
— Kathleen Schmeider, correspondent
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