By Lynn Kyle
WEST POINT – Immaculate Conception Parish celebrated a homecoming Mass and brunch Sunday, Oct. 16, as the last of many events centered around the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Father Channappareddy Basani, pastor, and the liturgy committee, offered a variety of activities such as including the Year of Mercy Prayer following Communion, works of charity for those in need, a pilgrimage to Hanceville, Ala., providing copies of biblical materials on the Year of Mercy, special reconciliation services and the Homecoming Mass.
The homecoming was set in order to renew the faith of the community, welcome former parishioners to celebrate the history and growth of the parish and to invite people become more involved in their faith.
Former parishioners were welcomed to the Mass, celebrated by Father Jeffrey Waldrep. Former pastor, Father Sam Messina, and current pastor, Father Basani, both concelebrated. The crowd of 160 included visitors from Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
Father Waldrep, who was born and raised in West Point, shared memories of his childhood in the parish. He reflected on those who had inspired him and who had taught him the importance of prayer. He also shared the importance of lifting each other up in prayer. He reminded the congregation the Holy Year of Mercy, set forth by Pope Francis, encourages us all to seek God’s love and mercy.
Father Messina spoke about his time as pastor when the current renovations to the main church were completed. He also shared fond memories of the many families he got to know and friends he made while here. He encouraged members to continue to work hard to follow the word of the Lord and to dedicate time to his service.
Father Basani thanked all those who traveled long distances and expressed his appreciation for their sense of belonging to the parish. He encouraged everyone present to remain steadfast in sharing their time and talents with others and active participants in this faith community.
Following the Mass, the guests and congregation were invited to a brunch prepared by the ladies of the parish. The parish hall was decorated with a fall theme. Attendees were asked to place an autumn leaf on the Parish Family Tree as they entered the hall.
As a memento of the event, each family was given a booklet about the history of the Catholic Church of West Point, a Year of Mercy prayer card and writing pen as a gift from the parish.
(Editor’s note: more photos are available online at www.mississippicatholic.com)