by Melanie Jongsma
CALUMET CITY, Ill. (May 15, 2020) – Dozens of cars rolled in to the parking lot to the east of the Our Lady of Knock Church building (501 163rd Street) around 11:30am on Wednesday, May 13. They were there to celebrate Father Patrick Lyons on the actual day of his 50th anniversary of priesthood.
Unsure of the procedure, parishioners parked somewhat haphazardly, and then got out of their cars—donning masks to protect each other—to find out what was going on. The day was bright with sun, though somewhat cool, and gathering in the church parking lot brought back memories of pre-pandemic routines.
“He’s coming out!” cried Father Luis at 11:45am, and the news reverberated through the waiting crowd. Those standing in the parking lot began applauding, until they were drowned out by the festive blaring of horns that lasted a full minute.
“Happy 50th!,” “Many more!,” and other well wishes were shouted, including a celebratory Polish song.
After a few minutes of socializing, the noon church bells began to toll, and Father Luis instructed participants to return to their cars, drive past Father Pat, and wave/honk a final greeting.
The event was not a surprise for Father Pat, but he was overwhelmed at the number of participants. “I figured a few cars,” he said. “I didn’t figure this many!”
The Our Lady of Knock church building is located at 501 163rd Street in Calumet City, Illinois. The parish has merged with St. Victor and St. Andrew parishes to form a new church known as Jesus, Shepherd of Souls, which was meeting on the Our Lady of Knock campus.