REGINA — St. Cecilia Parish hall was packed July 3 with people to help celebrate Rev. John Weckend’s 70th birthday.
“It’s just wonderful,” said the popular pastor, speaking with the PM. “There are people here from several of my previous parishes, and there are some fellow priests here, too.”
Among the crowd were Winnipeg Archbishop Emeritus James Weisgerber; Revs. Ken Koep and Stephen Bill; and back for the summer from the first year of his two-year study leave was Rev. Brad Fahlman.
Knights of Columbus cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on outdoor barbecues behind the church while parishioners were asked to bring salads and desserts. It required two lengthy tables to hold all the food.
Weckend is one of Regina’s most popular priests. Besides his pastor duties at St. Cecilia’s Parish, he serves on several archdiocesan committees, frequently appears in area schools, and annually takes part in the Queen City Marathon as part of relay team raising funds for Visitation House, a Regina drop-in centre for women.
He began what has become a traditional practice in his parish of gathering the teachers from his area schools for a special mass and blessing opening the new school year. It’s a practice he is promoting for other parishes to encourage more support for teachers and for Catholic education.