Every seat in the pews of Woodstock's Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church was filled, and it was standing room only, on Sunday morning, September 17, as the venerated church celebrated a century of serving the community.
The service, complete with choral musical numbers, brought tears to the eyes of many long-time parishioners, as did the celebratory luncheon held after the morning Mass.
"Today we are here to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Mass held in the church of Our Lady Of Sorrows," said the church's lead pastor, Father Ron Millican. "The actual church was dedicated in 1918, but the first Mass was actually held in December of 1917; we wanted to celebrate it today, because this is also the Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows, our patroness."
Afterward, Millican spoke with THE BEE on his way into the gymnasium, already set up for a celebratory luncheon banquet. "Just seeing all these wonderful people here today is great," he said. "So many people who have come today have a history here, and have expressed how they have been blessed by Our Lady of Sorrows.
"Seeing the joy, the happiness that this place is brought to a lot of people warms the heart! Their faith helps them in moments of sorrow, and helps them celebrate in times of joy – and Jesus Christ is the foundation of the whole church," Millican explained. "Our Lady of Sorrows stood by him at the cross, and was faithful to the end, and to that we're dedicated here."
One of the celebrants, Helen (Buckhorn) Jones, said she was born in Woodstock in 1933 and was baptized at the church. "It's amazing how many churches have disappeared here; we had so many churches along Woodstock Boulevard, of all religions and denominations.
"I also went to school here; out of our class of eleven students, there were four boys and seven girls that graduated – four of us girls are still alive," said Jones, who added that she still lives about four blocks away from the church.
After blessing the food at the special lunch, Fr. Millican opened the buffet line, and an afternoon of celebrating, remembering, and dining was underway.