N. Aurora Parish Celebrates 50 Years
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
October 8, 2020
NORTH AURORA—Blessed Sacrament Parish celebrated its 50th anniversary with an anniversary Mass on Oct. 4, attended by 44 founding families, parish staff, finance and parish council members, and parish ministry leaders. 
 
That 10:30 a.m. Mass was live-streamed, as it is each week. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the usual precautions of masks, social distancing and no singing besides the cantor were all in place, and no reception was provided. Even so, founding families came to celebrate their parish.
 
Parishioner Gilbert Drendel was 34 when Blessed Sacrament Parish began. He and his family had moved from North Aurora to Batavia shortly before. Drendel, an attorney, met Blessed Sacrament’s first pastor, Father Edward Wright, when he represented the family that sold their home to the parish.
 
Drendel says he and the priest “hit it off” right away, and by the second parish Mass, the Drendels asked if they could join Blessed Sacrament. 
 
He says that Father Wright’s response was to laugh and say, “I traded for you earlier this week,” in reference to a parishioner who had asked to be at Holy Cross in Batavia.
 
Drendel is working on a book about the history of Blessed Sacrament Parish and says he “didn’t know we’d have a virus” to write about in what he thinks will be a 120-page book.
 
Two other founding parishioners are Tony and Helen Boecker who were born and raised in the area. They were married at St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Aurora, then joined Blessed Sacrament “where they needed us,” they say. 
 
Present at all the stages of the parish so far, Tony says “we helped it grow,” while Helen says that growth is the highlight of the past 50 years for her. She calls it a “beautiful parish” and, adds  that her parents attended Blessed Sacrament and that she and Tony “raised our children here.”
 
Both have been active in parish life. Helen has volunteered in the parish office for many years, is a member of the women’s club and a eucharistic minister. Tony has ushered, participated in the men’s club, served as a eucharistic minister and “cut the grass (for) a while.”
 
Father Max Lasrado, pastor, began the anniversary celebration by leading all who were gathered in the parish’s 50th anniversary prayer. The prayer called on God to “sustain us with your word, strengthen us through your sacraments, and empower us with the Holy Spirit, that we may proclaim the true presence of your Son ... as we serve you and the community ... .”
 
The anniversary Mass was celebrated by Bishop David Malloy with Father Lasrado, Benedictine Father Kenneth Theisen — the one priestly vocation from the parish so far — and Father William Etheredge who heads Aurora Central Catholic High School and sometimes fills in at Blessed Sacrament Parish.
 
During his homily Bishop Malloy asked the founding families to raise their hands, saying, “You are the living stones of 50 years here.” He added that a parish is more than deeds and buildings, that it is “a place where our faith is really anchored.”
 
He also noted, “We have here a very real reason to be joyful ... because once again we are fulfilling at this moment the highest gift ... joined together to celebrate the Eucharist .... (where) our hearts would be able to be joined with Him who makes Himself personally here in the Eucharist ... .”
 
“Fifty years,” the bishop reflected. “You wonder how many Masses ... how many sins forgiven in the course of 50 years ... how many of the marriages that were celebrated here whose grace of marriage blessed them ... how many of you have buried someone from this parish. (This) was the place to come home to ... .”
 
He quoted the day’s second reading from St. Paul. “Have no anxiety ... That’s easier said than done. Fifty years of a parish has got to mean 50 years of anxiety in some ways ... 50 years of a parish like a family ... with moments of up and down, those moments when things have to be worked out ... but it is worth it, just like it is worthwhile in a family.”
 
Bishop Malloy again quoted St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “‘Pray, offer your petitions ... but join them to thanksgiving.’ That’s what we’re about, especially here today. Thanksgiving for 50 years of this gift of grace. 
 
“May we all receive and use that gift well.” 

 

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