On Sunday, September 20, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Raeford, NC, celebrated its 50th anniversary. An overflow crowd was in attendance for a bilingual Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge. Concelebrating were Msgr. James P. Keaney, founding Pastor of St. Elizabeth, Msgr. Jeffrey R. Ingham, Dean of the Fayetteville Deanery, and Fr. Bill John Acosta, Sacramental Minister to the parish.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary was founded in 1959 with 14 families. The original church was built with money provided by a small group of women from Yonkers, New York. Today, due to the growth of the Latino population, military families and retirees moving to the area, the parish numbers more than 200 families. A little more than a year ago, Bishop Burbidge dedicated a new, 10,000 square-foot facility containing the church, classrooms, a kitchen and a social hall.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge commended the parish community for its tradition of care and compassion for one another. “We honor all those who built the foundations of this parish and those today who continue to strengthen and sustain them,” he said. The Bishop urged members of the parish to use the anniversary as a time of rededication.
“As a parish community,” he said, “be renewed on this special occasion in your commitment to live and to work together as brothers and sisters. As Saint James tells us in our Second Reading, we must be freed from jealousy, selfish ambition and all forms of conflict. Instead, in this parish strive for the harmony in which our diversity and unity are celebrated.”
After Mass, Sr. Jeanne Morgan, S.S.J., Pastoral Administrator, acknowledged the longtime parishioners in attendance, several of whom were founding members. Then St. Elizabeth’s youth faith formation group presented a card and special thanks to Sr. Jeanne “for all the love she has shown to us.”