Parishioners at historic St. George Parish in Bourbonnais celebrated their feast day on
Sunday, April 23 with a Mass and reception afterwards, but just hearing the story of their patron saint always serves to inspire them.
As far as historians can tell, St. George was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and an officer in the guard of Roman Emperor Diocletian. When the emperor announced he would not allow any Christians in the army, St. George refused to comply and he was executed.
St. George now is recognized as a martyr and saint, revered around the world, especially in England where he is its patron saint. He often is depicted slaying a dragon, and in fact the stained glass window of him — commissioned by the parish four years ago for the feast day — shows St. George about the dragon.
His dragon slaying may be legendary, this image of him has come to represent slaying Christ’s enemies.
While parishioners of St. George may not be asked to do battle, they do take a pro-active approach to their faith. For last year’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, parishioners planned activities every month to carry out the Corporal Works of Mercy, and during Lent they collected items and donations for the young immigrants served by the Viator House of Hospitality. Currently, they are planning to build a new Querbes Hall for its increased youth ministry and religious education programs.
Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, serves as pastor, carrying on a tradition of nearly 120 years of Viatorians leading the parish and its families. He is aided by Associates Curt and Kathy Saindon, and David and Susan Surprenant. Next year, the parish will celebrate its 170th anniversary.