Stockton’s priest prepares to bid community farewell

With an eventful and emotional schedule of events, members of Stockton’s St. Peter the Apostle and El Dorado Springs’ St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Churches gathered together Sunday, June 30, at the Stockton parish locale for a combined anniversary celebration.

The El Dorado Springs parish was celebrating its 70th anniversary and the Stockton parish was embracing its own golden anniversary.

To mark the special occasion and in showing diocese solidarity, Monsignor Tom Reidy, Bishop Edward Rice, Father’s Mark Hoa Lee, John Paul Tran and Mark Binder all participated in the combined celebratory mass.

“We’re together this evening to commemorate a combined 120 years of worship and fellowship,” Bishop Rice said. “It’s a joyous and momentous occasion for our dioceses. We’re so pleased and blessed to see both congregations come together to celebrate in such an overwhelming way.”

Father Lee, who will assume a new post with a parish in Texas next month, followed Rice with an emotional, heartfelt sermon during the special evening’s service.

Lee tearfully thanked his congregation for its welcoming support, collective guidance, furthering his spiritual growth and for always making him feel as though he had a spiritual home with the church he has led.

The evening’s services were followed by a catered meal held in the Sue Alder Hall of St. Peter the Apostle and offered socializing and entertainment.

Historical photographs and information regarding the history of both parishes were on display for guests to peruse and enjoy.

Fathers Lee and Tran provided musical renditions of both Vietnamese and traditional English hymns during the event’s catered dinner, followed by performances from other church members.

The event saw almost 200 parishioners and invited church officials spend the evening visiting among fellow members of the Stockton and El Dorado congregations, respectively.

For additional information regarding services, upcoming events, mass schedules and/or membership, interested parties are encouraged to contact St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Stockton, at 276-5588 or St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, El Dorado Springs, at (417) 876-3216.

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