That’s Bible-speak for, “Prepare yourselves and take fresh courage, people!” The all-city festival, Bloomington Heritage Days, is just a few weeks away. The event will take place the weekend of September 18-19, beginning on Friday evening and lasting through the night on Saturday.
For the first time ever we will be hosting the festivities here at Nativity of Mary. Festival organizers advise us to prepare for 18,000-20,000 people to visit our parish campus in those two days. Here on our parish grounds festival-goers will find food vendors, a beer garden, a car show, historical exhibits, a talent show, face-painting, bingo, raffle prizes, children’s inflatables, a pie-eating contest, sports contests, games, clinics, a lot of live music, and… prayer, Confessions, and Mass!
The festival represents a true leap of faith for all of us. Staff and key volunteers from our parish and school have sensed a call from God to respond to this opportunity in a spirit of hospitality, service to the community, generosity, and hopefulness – that as people come to Nativity of Mary that weekend they will find among us joy and the love of Christ and that they would be inspired open their hearts more fully in faith to the call God in their lives.
These will be two days to test our mettle. Finding parking will be a challenge – particularly for our 4:00 Saturday evening Mass goers. We will reserve some spaces in our north parking lot. Park-and-ride shuttles from Normandale Community College and Kennedy High School will be available all day and night on Saturday.
We will need the willing hearts and hands of many volunteers – especially for bingo, raffle ticket sales, security, and parish and school information tents. You can sign up at the parish office or on our website. I also have applied again for the help of immigrant labor for the weekend (my parents from across the border of Wisconsin will be coming to help).
In the 66 years of our parish history this will be the largest and most attended event that Nativity of Mary has ever hosted. I am encouraged to believe that together we can do something beautiful for God. Thank you to all of you who already have pledged, with such inspiring enthusiasm and holy cheer, to give it a grand effort.
Nativity of Mary, you’re the best.