They say timing is everything. After postponing an earlier outdoor festival, due to inclement weather, parishioners at Maternity BVM Church in Bourbonnais had a picture perfect fall day in which to wrap up the parish’s 175th anniversary.

Their 175th Fall Fest took place Sunday, after the 11 a.m. Mass, and the splendor of God’s creation was on full display. Families enjoyed bingo, a cake walk, pumpkin painting, kids’ games, bounce houses, balloon animals, face painting, live music and food, and all in the shadow of the historic grotto on the church grounds.

“It was a huge success,” church leaders said, “and a perfect day.”

The fall fest was the culminating event in the parish’s milestone year, dedicated to “175 Years of Faith and Family.”

Fr. Moses Mesh looks over all the pumpkin desserts.

All year long, parishioners have reflected on the parish’s founding in 1847 and 18 years later, at the end of the Civil War, when the first Viatorians arrived from Montreal to serve the parish. Viatorians have led Maternity ever since and they have remained committed to their mission, of raising up communities where faith is lived, celebrated and deepened.

“Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a special place,” said Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, the 29th pastor of Maternity. “In this 175th anniversary, we not only remember the memories of the past, but we renew our commitment of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the community.

“We invite all to encounter Christ in a very real way,” he added, “through the celebration of the Sacrament and living out our mission of being Missionary Disciples who radiate the light of love of Christ to all.”