Altar & Rosary Society
Our Lady of Fatima Parish was established on August 13, 1958 with 450 families who had previously been members of St. Bernadette, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Mary Magdalene or St. Joseph. The Altar & Rosary Society was active right from the start. The formal organizational meeting was held October 22, 1958 at the Jefferson County Building, Colfax and Wadsworth. Seventy-two women attended. A constitution committee was chosen to draw up constitutions and by-laws. A nominating committee was chosen to submit a slate of officers. The first officers were: President, Mrs. Dean Barta; 1st Vice President, Mrs. Arthur McCutcheon; 2nd Vice President, Mrs. Don Robertson; 3rd Vice President, Mrs. Edward Scheunemann; Secretary, Mrs. Joseph Pastore; Treasurer, Mrs. Edward Droll; and Historian, Mrs. Russell Kostroski. The pastor, Father Robert Syrianey, was Spiritual Director.
All women of the parish were urged to become members of the society and to share in its spiritual benefits. Two types of membership were offered: regular, with “active participation in the work of the Society,” and associate, offering “moral support by the payment of dues.” Dues were only $1.00. The Charter Membership Scroll listing the first members “as a pledge to our pastor of our support and cooperation” includes 241 charter members. It now hangs in the hallway outside the parish office.
By March 1959 there were 12 circles. All were social groups for cards, sewing, etc that also took on service activities. They were named St. Anne, St. Elizabeth, Infant of Prague, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Jude, Little Flower, Guardian Angel, St. Bridget, St. Therese, Mercy of God, and Stitch and Chatter. Each had a “president” who was given a rosary when the circle was formed “in appreciation for the obligations she has assumed.” Service efforts included a birthday card and “shiny quarter” to each little boy at St. Vincent’s Home, making and selling nativity sets, selling religious articles after each Sunday Mass, and collecting Gift Star stamps to use for needed parish items.
Regular monthly meetings for all were held on the first Wednesday at 8 pm, with an “interesting program” followed by card playing. A traveling statue of the Blessed Mother was presented each month to the circle having the most members in attendance.
“Corporate Communion Sunday” was offered for all ladies at 8:30 am Mass on 1st Sundays, with front seats reserved. The group received Holy Communion together and prayed after Mass, which availed them of plenary indulgences.
Social events included an annual Card Party, a Fashion Show beginning in 1961, Skit Night with multiple circles participating, and a Mother-Daughter Breakfast. The first Day of Recollection was held in February 1966.
The Altar and Rosary Society at Our Lady of Fatima Parish continues to flourish today with bake sales, religious goods sales, a fall membership potluck brunch, a spring luncheon for women of the parish and a day of reflection during Lent. Dues are still a bargain at only $5.00 per year and all women of the parish are encouraged to become members. The circles that are active today include the following:
- Saint Mother Teresa: helps the homebound, the sick and the elderly.
- St. Veronica: contacts and welcomes new parishioners.
- Angels: assists as needed at parish events with set-up, serving, and clean up.
- Blessed Jacinta: cleans and polishes altar vessels and candle sticks; cares for altar server vestments.
- St. Cecilia: participates in sing-a-longs with residents of nursing homes monthly.
- St. Clare: prepares home-cooked meals for The Action Center shelter weekly.
- St. Margaret: repairs vestments, washes altar linens, embroiders baptismal bibs.
- St. Martha: dusts church, altar and sanctuary; straighten pew pockets.
- Queen of Peace: makes and donates rosaries.
- St. Bridget: social bridge group, supports church projects.
- St. Theresa: social bridge group, supports church projects.
- St. Joan of Arc: cleans glass doors to church and parish hall.