Despite a reflection piece that ran last week in the Kankakee Daily Journal, St. George Church in Bourbonnais is alive and well, as parishioners wrapped up their yearlong 150th anniversary celebration and look forward to a bright future.

St. George Church

The news story that ran on Dec. 31, looked back at the fire in 1959, that left the historic church in charred ruins. Near the end of the story, it credits St. George parishioners with coming up with the means and resolve to rebuild the church. Its dedication one year later drew a large crowd and the rural parish has grown in numbers ever since.

That same commitment and level of engagement in parish life can be seen today at St. George. On Saturday, parish members will celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany at Mass, before holding a reception to thank Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, for serving as interim pastor and welcome home, Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV, after his sabbatical.

Working side by side with Fr. Render to keep the business side of the parish working smoothly, have been Viatorian associates, including Robert and Julie Lampley, Curt and Kathleen Saindon, and Paula Wasser.

Fr. Daniel Belanger

Fr. Patrick Render

Just this week, parishioners stepped up to help dismantle the life-size creche on the church grounds. The manger can fit several people inside and needed to be hauled off to storage on the back of a farm vehicle.

Fr. Belanger described the willing parishioners as his “angels,” saying: “Normally I’d take down the creche after the Epiphany, but who knows, we could have a blizzard next week.”

Yes, St. George Parish is alive and well, with the help of its parishioners and Viatorians living out their mission, to “Build up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.”