Rev. Patrick McDermott of Sacred Hearth Catholic Church in Lacey inspired worshipers to act with kindness to those less fortunate in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ during his 10 a.m. Mass Christmas day.
"May the joy and peace of the Lord's birth be with you this Christmas season," McDermott said, concluding the Mass.
Hundreds of parishioners filled the pews at the church located in the 800 block of Bowker Street SE on Wednesday. Parish Administrator Ferrell Gilson said that for the 5 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve, more than 1,000 worshipers attended.
McDermott opened the Mass with a welcome to visitors returning home from out of state, as well as newcomers visiting the parish for the first time. Parishioner Andrew Li, a specialist training to become a medical sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was reunited with his wife, Sandra Wang, and their 2-year-old son, Ray Lee, for Christmas mass.
Christmas eve and Christmas day masses are performed in English, Spanish and Korean, Gilson said. McDermott, who worked in Bolivia and Peru prior to joining Sacred Heart Catholic Church about three years ago, was readying for a bilingual Mass in Spanish and English at noon Christmas day.
"We have the whole world here," McDermott said of his parishioners.
A priest from Fife who speaks Korean drives to Sacred Heart weekly to celebrate Mass, Gilson added.
The Christmas season is among the most joyous and the busiest times of the year at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, both McDermott and Gilson agreed. Gilson said parishioners had prepared a "giving tree," earlier in December with about 250 gift and food baskets for its members. There were total of four Masses celebrated at Sacred Heart on Christmas Eve, including an 11 p.m. Mass.
"It's both tiring, and it's joyful," McDermott said. "We're fortunate here because there are so many people who help out."
Gilson said members of the Sacred Heart Church will remain busy at the start of 2014. On Jan 10, Sacred Heart's Hallen Hall will host The Filipino American Community of South Puget Sound for a benefit dinner to raise money for victims of the Nov. 8 Typhoon Haiyan. Food will be provided by Cebu restaurant in Lacey.
Sacred Heart's Jan. 10 benefit dinner for typhoon victims in the Philippines is tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. As the date approaches, please check Sacred Heart's website for more details at sacredheartlacey.com.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org