By Deacon Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross
Blessed Sacrament parish and Assumption School in Hibbing are taking what has been an annual fundraising event up a notch, turning it into a community concert, prayer walk, and festival open to the region.
“Spirit Fest” will take place May 21 after the parish’s 10 a.m. Mass, beginning with a May crowning and a prayer walk with the school children and any members of the community who want to join in. The walk will have stations to pray for various intentions — for the deceased, those who are ill, the unborn, those who serve the community as medical and emergency workers, and more. Pledges and sales of signs for the walk help raise money for the school.
Students participate in a past Spirit Walk, an event that is now growing into a free community festival and concert. (Submitted photo)
The walk will then flow into a concert featuring Aly Aleigha. There will also be food trucks, family games, and activities.
“Our hope is to draw some neighbors and non-Catholic community members, as well as Catholics from around the area, to be renewed and celebrate the love of Christ and the hope he offers,” says Father Daniel Weiske, pastor of the parish and school.
He said the changes came from parents in answer to the call of Bishop Daniel Felton in his pastoral letter on mission.
“We have a group of parents that are really eager to kind of shine a light and bring others to the healing, hope, and joy that we have in our faith and in our school, and are transforming this event, which started as a fundraiser, into something broader for the wider community to come together to pray for healing amidst our hurts, to celebrate hope, to try to provide some inspiration through the amazing music that will be in concert at the Spirit Fest,” he said.
He noted that “there is something beautiful and healing about coming together around the Lord in our fragmented world” and that the music and the beautiful children praying for community intentions can touch hearts.
Father Weiske said such an event can be an easy point of entry for community members to connect with the church, a kind of “landing pad,” and it’s really a community service.
“It’s hard to find family fun sometimes,” he said.
The event is free, with free-will offerings accepted.
Spirit Fest grew out of previous events held by the school, such as the Glow Run, held in previous years. That was transformed into the Spirit Walk due to COVID restrictions. Father Weiske said leadership from Sarah Ciochetto, the event chair, and a group of parents who wanted to be involved has brought the event to this new vision. He said many have been inspired by the bishop’s message. Working with Father Weiske to have a good process, the idea has been, “Let’s think big and see what we can do.”
They have taken the theme “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is poured out through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
Food trucks will open at about 11 a.m., the Spirit Walk will start at about 11:45 a.m., the concert begins at 12:30 p.m., and the fun, with yard games, activities, and bonfire, will go until 4 p.m.
“Our hope is to lift the hearts of our community, to have people from the neighborhood, and Catholics from around our region join us,” Father Weiske said. “Assumption and Blessed Sacrament hope to provide a refuge of hope for our families and a light in the community. In this world that is so fragmented, it is renewing to come together. In a time our world is hurting, it is healing to come together as one in the Holy Spirit. So we eagerly invite our neighbors and our fellow faithful to celebrate with us and find hope in the Holy Spirit.”
To support Spirit Fest with a pledge or to order a sign please visit blessedsacramenthibbing.org or call (218) 262-5541.