About our Church
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Audubon, Iowa
St. Patrick’s parish can trace its beginnings to the year 1880, when Father Edward Gaule, the resident priest in Atlantic, offered the First Mass at the home of John H. Holland. As the congregation grew larger, Mass was held in the public school building. Within a span of two years in 1882, under the direction of Father Edward Gaule, a Church was built at the brow of the hill. On February 1, 1918, Father Jeremiah Costello was appointed pastor of Audubon and Exira, and he began work on a new Church, that was dedicated on December 8, 1919 by Bishop Thomas W. Drumm of Des Moines. From 1882 until today, 16 priests have served the parish. Today as I speak, there are 203 registered families. Our average attendance on a weekend is about 140 people. There are 66 children in our religious education program: – 30 of them in the lower grades – Kindergarten through the 6th grade, 11 of them in the first communion class, 20 of them in the upper grade – 7th through the 12th grade, and 5 students in our Confirmation program, and they were confirmed on Sunday, January 24, 2016. Three of our students attended the NCYC. There are 13 Catechists giving their time. The children are involved in serving coffee and rolls after early Mass once a month. They also assist with the Fish Fry every Friday during Lent.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Exira, Iowa
Holy Trinity parish can trace its beginnings to the year 1878, when Father Edward Gaule, the resident priest in Atlantic, offered the first service at the home of Frank Door. As the congregation grew larger, a Church that could seat 120 people, was built on Harrison Street on a piece of property donated by a non-Catholic named Urban Herrick in 1879. In 1891 this building was moved to the present location. And the present Church was built in 1902 by Father Julius Failenschmidst. The first resident priest at Holy Trinity in Exira was Father Arthur Zaizer, who started a school with the assistance of three sisters of Humility. A school was built in 1895 at the present location of the parish hall. The school was closed in 1905 due to the dwindling number of children and loss of the assistance of the sisters. From 1878 until today, 29 priests have served the parish.
Our pastor is Rev. Antony Mathew, who comes from a strong Catholic family in the south west part of India from the state called Kerala. This part of India was evangelized by St. Thomas the Apostle. His parents are Mathew and Anne. His father passed away on September 22, 2000. His mother just turned 80 on this Thanksgiving Day, and she lives with his older brother in India. He has four siblings: two older brothers and two younger sisters. His oldest brother, Joseph, who inherited his father’s farm property lives on the farm. His older brother, Johny works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. His younger sister, Jolly works as a nurse in Bahrain, and his youngest sister, Jessy works as a nurse in Saudi Arabia. He went to St. Antony’s Catholic School, and after graduating from High School, joined the seminary to continue the studies for priesthood. He was ordained as a priest on May 2, 1996 at his own home parish (St. Antony’s Church) in India.
He was assigned to the Diocese of Fort Worth in 2002, and had the following assignments there: – St. Catherine of Siena, Carrolton; Holy Family, Fort Worth; St. Patrick Cathedral, Fort Worth; St. Thomas the Apostle, Fort Worth, and Holy Trinity Mission, Azle; and the final assignment was at Holy Cross, The Colony.
He was assigned to St. Patrick, Audubon, and Holy Trinity, Exira on September 3, 2015. Under his leadership, the parishes are being revived, and there seems to be a sense of belongingness, and that is being manifested in the participation at the Liturgy, and in the enthusiasm, and willingness to co-operate and work together as a parish family at different events.
Stewardship at St Patrick’s Parish
We remember with love, and appreciation all our pioneers of St. Patrick and Holy Trinity, who are resting in the Lord, because we are indebted to them. All that we are today at St. Patrick and Holy Trinity can be attributed to their achievements. We cannot be content merely with our past, but we have a present and future that we can look forward to. We can shape and transform the present and future by way of our contribution. As in the case of Simon and Andrew, James and John, Jesus sees us today and says to us “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men”. You and I respond to that challenge of Jesus today by way of our stewardship. The word ‘steward’ literally means ‘manager of the house’. In the context of the Bible, it means “utilizing and managing all the resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation”. In other words stewardship is managing everything God brings into a disciple’s life in a manner that honors God and impacts eternity. There are four basic principles of stewardship. The first principle is to receive God’s gifts with gratitude. Receiving reminds us of dependence on God. Gratitude acknowledges abundance. The second principle is to cultivate God’s gifts responsibly. God has entrusted His house to us. We are accountable to God for managing gifts given to us and we do so for the glory of God and in the service of humankind. The third principle is to share God’s gifts lovingly and in justice with others. The self-emptying sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is for us a model of sharing with love and in justice. The fourth principle is to return God’s gifts with an increase. It is often the fear of losing what we have, coupled with inertia that keeps us from giving. Faith in God’s love and abiding care gives us the confidence to give so that our gifts may bear fruit.
As we live out our baptismal commitment to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit united by love, we gradually grow in the life of discipleship so that our will and God’s will increasingly coincide and God becomes more deeply present to us that we are to ourselves. Stewardship changes our priorities so that self-abandonment becomes our will and God becomes our joy. Just as God loved us by putting on flesh in the person of Jesus, so we love God by putting on Christ and loving others. By working for justice, caring for those in need and putting on abilities and resources at the service of others, we contribute to the mission of the church in continuing Jesus’ saving work in the world. Stewardship is understood in its three aspects: stewardship of time, talent and treasure. There are a good number of people in our parish who share their time, talent, and treasure and thereby become an instrument of transformation in our parish family. There are also others who just walk in and walk out without much commitment to our parish family. I am challenging those today to have a sense of ownership. Let us all become agents of transformation by sharing a little more of time, talent, and treasure. May the Lord enable us to become good and faithful stewards.