Parish Picnic Appreciation

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No longer will the table draped with the red & white checked tablecloth, and the basket of candies luring young and old, or the festive balloons - be greeting everyone who comes through our red doors.  But the memories of our Newman Parish Picnic will hopefully linger a long while!  It was a beautiful day in Tilden Park, and the picnic site perfectly accommodated the approximately 180 people who brought their dishes and drinks and chairs to share.

The Mass on the meadow led us into a joyful celebration of Eucharist, concelebrated by our 3 loved priests, and accompanied musically by our lovely choir, led by Colleen.   Christine our sacristan, carried our sacred vessels from Newman for the altar.  As we processed up to the food area in a flow led by Carla, it was so evident that we were a wonderful cross section of our richly diverse community.    How beautiful to be on our sweet planet among the trees, reflecting on God’s infinite love and mercy!  

It seems important to acknowledge many who were not particularly ‘seen’ that day (some were already standing, so weren’t obvious when Fr Ivan asked the team to stand). But they were so instrumental in creating this wondrous, and rather historical event.  Many kudos to Bob Gannon, for getting the picnic ball rolling, and organizing our team planning meetings.  He arranged details with Tilden Park, rented a U-Haul truck (not once, but twice!), and made sure that various parts of the planning were coordinated.  Other members of the team who met weekly included Ellen BakerKinson HoEdrick SabalburoKimi HebertNed & Yvette NicollsFr IvanFr Steven Bell, and me.  Each of the team members led and organized the tasks at hand:  publicity (posters, sign up table and tabulation, bulletin, pulpit and website announcements), truck drivers and equipment loaders and unloaders, site setup and take down, route signage, transportation of parishioners, parking assistance, potluck organization and table signs, food purchasing and grilling, name tags, game planning, and site clean-up.

A few other key ‘shout outs’ are warranted:

Frances Rojek and Grace Shannonprepared tables of activities for our young children, and Cal students planned amazing games for the parish.  (Though there was an unforeseen glitch with the games, the plan is much appreciated.) 

Randy Dixon prepared signage with balloons to help people find their way to the picnic site (apologies for those who found it difficult from other points of departure), as well as signage within the site. 

Frs. Ivan and Steven did all the shopping for food and supplies. 

Julia Casellasupplied table coverings, Christine Feirreradesigned the food table centerpieces, Kirk Petersonprovided his truck to move food and supplies from Newman.

And during the entire time, there was Kinson Ho, our parish photographer who voluntarily chronicles everything that he can, taking photos to record for posterity, which eventually land onto our website.

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But truly, the entire meadow of Newman folks could have been applauded for being part of The Picnic Team.  To all those who brought food and canopies and chairs and helped wherever it was needed – with specific team tasks or on the spur of the moment (blowing up balloons, setting up canopies, etc.!), YOU truly made the picnic what it was!  Did you feel the breeze on your face in the meadow, while singing and praying together?  Did you have a chance to look around and see all the tables full of people enjoying the feast and mingling with each other, lingering over conversations and making new connections? 

Thank you, dear community, for BEING community, for showing up when possible, and for your open hearts and hands.   

                        Gratefully submitted by Jeannie Battagin

Photos from our Parish Picnic: General Prep Mass Food People Other Pictures