VERSAILLES — Doug and Brenda Schmitmeyer hosted the recent 2019 Rural-Urban Mass just north of here.
The annual event was held at 7 p.m. July 18 on the Schmitmeyer family farm.
An estimated 400-plus people attended.
“Given the weather conditions (heavy thunderstorm and rain about three hours prior to start, and the 100F+ heat index, it was a very good turnout,” said Becky Kunkler, the Northern Area coordinator for Catholic Social Action office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. “Previous years’ normal turnout (with better weather conditions), there were 800 to 1,000 people.”
Celebrating Mass was Bishop Joseph Binzer, auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, along with Fr. Steve Shoup (St. Peter and Paul Church of Newport and St. Michael, Fort Loramie; and a number of clergy from the surrounding areas in the deanery.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s office of Catholic Social Action and Rural Life sponsors the event.
Why is this service performed?
“Several reasons; first to acknowledge and celebrate the work and faith of our farm families,” Kunkler said. “Second, to provide an opportunity for other people in the Archdiocese to learn more about rural life.”
The Rural-Urban Mass is conducted generally the third Thursday is July, with the location generally identified a year in advance by the Rural Life Committee who works with farm families to see who would be interested in hosting the event. The location is generally alternated between the Sidney Deanery (Darke, Shelby, Miami counties) and the St. Marys Deanery (Auglaize and Mercer counties).”
The following century farms were honored, including Fred and Marge Dues, Fort Recovery; Louis and Catherine Bruns, Maria Stein; Puthoff Family Farm, Sidney; Paul and Mary Mestemaker, New Weston; Vernon Ahrns, Fort Loramie; Joseph and Joan Borchers, Versailles; Ben and Kendra Siefring, Coldwater; Roger and Jan Borchers, Russia; Tony and Betsy Seger, Russia; Kenneth and Linda Thobe, Minster; William and Janice Rethman, Fort Loramie; and Gary and Molly Buehler, Anna; Don and Ginny Kremer, St. Henry.
Refreshments (water, pop, chocolate milk, ice cream, cookies) were served by parishioners from St. Peter & Paul parish of Newport, and Bishop Binzer stayed to enjoy fellowship with everyone who stayed after the Mass. Dairy products are usually donated by the National Dairy Association (DMI).
“It is always a wonderful and peaceful evening,” she said. “It’s a great gathering for fellowship and neighborhood hospitality to reflect on God’s Blessings He bestows.”