Friday, October 10, 2008

Franciscan Parade in Manitowoc, WI -- in Fr. Bob's Own Words

From Fr. Robert (Bob) Konopa, OFM

Little did I know that this St. Francis Feast Day, October 4th, 2008, would be most memorable.

Fr. Bob Konopa, OFM at the John Deere tractor for the Francis/Oktoberfest Parade in Manitowoc, WI on Saturday, 4 October 2008

My first opportunity for my “Channel of Peace Itinerant Ministry” began on September 2nd. I became a chaplain for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.The city of Manitowoc, the parish of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Franciscan Sisters collaborated to organize a 9-day Francis Fest/Oktoberfest.

One of the events of this celebration was a parade on October 4th. The Franciscan Sisters constructed a creative, outstanding and attention-grabbing float depicting their history beginning in 1869. But the question arose, “How can we pull this float in the parade?”

They asked me to drive their John Deere tractor. After taking it for a test drive, I realized how many years had passed by since my tractor-driving days on the Wisconsin farm where I grew up. The 50 minute drive on tractor to reach the starting point of the parade (while all the regular traffic whizzed by me) made driving the tractor in the parade pure pleasure, relaxing and fun.

The float in the parade was a hit! It was a great time for the Franciscans and our Franciscan presence in Manitowoc.
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity float driven by Fr. Bob Konopa, OFM on Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi at the Francis/Oktoberfest Parade on Saturday, 4 October 2008. The Sisters are "modeling" their original habit from the 1860s.

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