Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Strafford (Delaware County) celebrated its parish feast day with a Triduum of Prayer leading up to its 114th Annual Italian Festival on the Sunday prior to the Holy Day, Aug. 15.

This year, the triduum was celebrated from Wednesday, Aug. 9 through Friday, Aug. 11. All three days began with evening prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

This year’s celebration was special for the parish as one of its own sons, newly ordained Deacon Paul Fisher, preached the homily at each service.

“We are thrilled that our newly ordained deacon was our homilist,” said RoseAnn Westerfer, office manager and parish secretary. “Deacon Paul is an OLA parishioner. We were so supportive of him and his wife, Maria, during those long years of study. Everyone was thrilled when he was assigned to OLA.”

Father Gerald Carey, pastor of OLA, agreed with Westerfer, thanking Deacon Fisher in the parish’s weekly bulletin, “for his presence each night and for his inspiring words to us as we gathered before the Blessed Sacrament contemplating Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist.

Deacon Fisher referenced three Mysteries of the Rosary in his sermon. They included The Wedding Feast at Cana, one of the Luminous Mysteries, as well as two Sorrowful Mysteries, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion.

Deacon Paul A. Fisher offers a homily during Our Lady of the Assumption Parish’s Triduum of Prayer Aug. 9 – 11. (Photo: Dan McCarty)

Following services, parishioners were invited to enjoy an evening of faith and fellowship complete with entertainment and refreshments in the parish hall courtesy of the Ladies of Our Lady of the Assumption (LOLA). On Wednesday, parishioners were encouraged to share their musical talents with guitarist Alex DiMartini serving as the guest entertainer on Thursday. For Friday’s finale, James Dell’Orefice, a parishioner of OLA, provided jazz music on the piano.

Guitarist Alex DiMartini was the guest entertainer for parishioners Thursday evening. (Photo: Dan McCarty)

This more than century-old tradition is a time to build community. It does not happen without parishioners working together. Not only did the parish reach its festival sponsorship goal of $7,500 but exceeded it by over $2,000.

“I am so grateful,” said Father Carey in his weekly corner of the bulletin.

The weekend wrapped up with a special Mass on Sunday, Aug. 13 in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption followed by an afternoon of food, baked goods, live music, fun and games at the parish’s 114th Annual Italian Festival

This year, festival goers were treated to a traditional Italian Bocce Court which was made possible through the generosity of the OLA Council of the Knights of Columbus.

“We love this community and being part of it,” said Marie Gordon, a member of the OLA Choir.

“A lot of hard work has been done in preparation for it [the festival], and through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, may our parish continue to remain strong and filled with the faith and love of Jesus Christ,” said Father Carey.