Parish Pioneer

Patty Opp

Patty Opp, Secretary Altar & Rosary; Sr. Cecilia from Papua New Guinea; Janice Bennett, President Altar & Rosary (2003)

Patty Opp, Secretary Altar & Rosary; Sr. Cecilia from Papua New Guinea; Janice Bennett, President Altar & Rosary (2003)

Fatima has been my spiritual home since 1969. I remember attending Mass in the school gym. What I remember about the first years being a member of the parish was the active presence of having a convent with the Benedictine sisters staffing the school. It reminded me of growing up under the tutelage of the Dominican Sisters in South Dakota. It was nostalgic for me, and their presence felt like a continuation of my Catholic life growing up.

Some experiences which impacted my faith life was my four-year study and graduation from the Catholic Biblical School as well as all the outstanding adult religion classes that I have taken nearly every year since the 1970s. I have also been impacted by the outstanding pastors and other religious leaders.

Fr. Mel Thompson

Fr. Mel Thompson

Another meaningful experience for me was being asked by Father Mel Thompson to be in the first group of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist in January. 1990. I am still in awe of receiving such honor and blessing, and I pray to be worthy.

In 1997 I was diagnosed with two incurable and rare forms of cancer. I requested prayers from everyone I knew and was placed on Our Lady of Fatima’s prayer list as well as other churches out of state. Surgery was successful and I never experienced a single pain after the surgery. I felt like a million dollars. I attribute that completely to all the prayers said and Masses offered on my behalf.

I also think the Adoration Chapel has been so beneficial to me personally as well as to the Our Lady of Fatima parish. Since it opened I have noticed a blossoming of the faith and spiritual growth in the parish, as exemplified by all the groups and activities in the parish and the enthusiastic participation and volunteerism.

Belonging to Our Lady of Fatima under the patronage of our Blessed Mother has had many benefits to me. As the mother of four sons, I believed that as the perfect mother with a perfect son, Jesus, Mary was the one I could turn to to help me with my own sons. I therefore prayed to her for help and enlightenment on a regular basis. I think she helped me be a better mother, and I am forever grateful.

After the Mass, I consider the rosary to be the highest form of prayer, and one I invoked almost daily as a parent. I learned to love it as a child at St. Mary’s elementary school in South Dakota. Before dismissal at the end of the school day, the entire school gathered together to recite the rosary. It has been an integral part of my daily life since then. I still use the same rosary that was an 8th grade graduation gift from my teacher, Sister Reynold. It is my treasure.