Rural Life Celebration not just for farmers

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor

Just over a year ago, the roof at St. Mary’s School, part of Assumption Parish in Morris, collapsed after heavy rains fell there. The building suffered major damage.

Tom Noel, one of the parish trustees, said it was a devastating blow for the community. So when he heard about the opportunity to host this year’s Rural Life Celebration, he and others thought it just might boost their spirits.

“This was an opportunity to look outside ourselves and do something positive as a parish,” Noel said.

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Craig and Joanie Murphy will host this year’s Rural Life Celebration at their farm near Morris. (Submitted photo)

He and his wife, Tami, agreed to be the chairs for the event, which will be held at the farm of Craig and Joanie Murphy on Sunday, Aug. 23, beginning with Mass at 11 a.m. with Bishop Donald Kettler.

“It is so great to see a lot of different parts of the community getting involved,” Joanie Murphy said. “People have been very generous.”

In addition to the Mass, the day also features a talk by award-winning Minnesota author and poet Candace Simar, a pulled pork lunch and Irish folk music by Mikko Cowdry.

The event is sponsored by Catholic Charities, the Diocese of St. Cloud and The Catholic Foundation.

“We exist in a community where agriculture is one of the key economic drivers,” Noel said. “We are surrounded by the rural lifestyle whether we live in town or in the country. It shows how intertwined we are, and it is also an opportunity to showcase the western side of the diocese and the state. It’s an energizing experience.”

The Murphys say they are excited to worship together with fellow parishioners, friends, family and anyone else who wants to venture out to their farm, an organic diversified crop and livestock operation.

“There are many people who have never been into the country,” Joanie Murphy said. “Even though we are a rural area, some people never thought about driving out to look at crops or driven down a gravel road. The whole notion of worshiping in this setting is really exciting.”rural life

As they continue to prepare for the celebration doing little projects between farming, the Murphys say prayers are welcome for good weather.

“There’s a fun itinerary — worship, a good speaker, good music and good food,” Craig Murphy said. “Now we just hope for good weather and a good crowd.”

Noel agrees. “If we get a nice day, it’s going to be pretty. You can see the prairie stretch for miles,” he said. “There are various reasons why people will come, and that’s why we’re doing this — to bring people with different backgrounds together. It really doesn’t get more complicated than that.”