From the angels painted on the ceiling over the altar, to the sweet cherub-like faces of the children attending Mass at St. Joseph Church in Black River Falls on Saturday July 1, 2017, it was clear there were angels surrounding the day’s events. St. Joseph Parish in Black River Falls and St. Kevin Parish in Melrose have now combined to create the new Guardian Angels Parish. Bishop William Patrick Callahan was the main celebrant for the Mass, with the new parish’s pastor Father Emmanuel Famiyeh concelebrating.
The afternoon began with an Independence Day parade on Main Street traveling down the hill past Saint Joseph church. The festive spirit continued inside the church where the congregation greeted each other warmly with handshakes and hugs. The Knights of Columbus were in attendance and added an air of seriousness and formality to the day. As the pews began to fill up it was clear that this Mass was to be represented by all generations, there were young families along with grandparents, friends, neighbors, and visitors from surrounding parishes. During his homily Bishop Callahan thanked the laity for reminding the entire diocese that we are all surrounded by Guardian Angels every day and their newly chosen name would be a constant reminder of this to all.
Father Famiyeh, was the current pastor for both individual parishes, was installed by proclamation as the Pastor of Guardian Angels Parish and he accepted this assignment with a large smile. Members of the different parish councils were asked to stand and be installed into their positions within the Parish. Mass concluded with a reminder that a ham dinner would be served immediately following. Most parishioners journeyed downstairs to continue celebrating with their friends, families, and fellow new Guardian Angel parishioners.
By Sharon Scheel