, Muskogee, OK

May 5, 2013

Wet weather does not dampen St. Joseph celebration

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— The rain may have forced the second annual St. Joseph the Worker Celebration indoors, but it didn’t dampen spirits.

The parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church simply moved the celebration into their parishioner hall and continued the festivities in a drier atmosphere.

Father Mike Knipe, the pastor at St. Joseph, said lots of parishes do something annually to celebrate who they are.

“The foster father of Jesus was known for his hard work,” Father Knipe said. “We share our name with him, and we are a parish of hard working people. We work in many different fields, but we’re all hard workers.”

The celebration lasted from noon until dark on Saturday, with breaks for special events, as well as a church service. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening the food overflowed the tables it was served on, and each community within the church contributed a specialty. The Hispanic community made tacos; the Vietnamese community made egg rolls; and the Knights of Columbus grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Father Knipe jokingly said after seeing the weather, he was glad the Knights knew to hook the inflatable up inside and the grill up outside.

Jim and Joan Pierret, parish members since 1967, said they were looking forward to the event this year.

“It’s real nice,” Joan Pierret said. “It’s too bad it rained, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a very diverse event, and it brings all people together.”

Pierret also said the eating was her favorite part, and the eggs rolls specifically were the best thing she had.

“Lord willing we’ll be back next year,” she said.  

In addition to the good food, festival attendees were treated to games like musical ice cream chairs and bingo, Honky the Clown and his balloon animals and upbeat music pumping through the parish sound system.

Isabel Cockle, the parish life coordinator of St. Joseph, said the event is about the whole church family coming together in the good times and bad.

“This is one of the good times,” she said. “Everyone gets involved. Father Knipe brought the event to the church when he came, and it is a great multicultural gathering of our gifts and talents.”

Cockle also said the youth group came up with a unique idea for the event.

“They are going to do a balloon rosary,” Cockle said. “They will write messages of peace on slips of paper, then stuff those into a balloon and blow it up, then release them outside.”

Father Knipe said the event will continue as long as he is there.

“For our parish, it allows the younger and older parishioners to come together,” he said. “It pulls us together. It is the type of thing that gathers people from the neighborhood and shows them what we’re about, as well as seeing our school.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or