Manitowoc’s First Ever Francis Fest/Oktoberfest Parade

by Sister Julie Ann on October 4, 2008

Although parades as we know them today did not exist in medieval times, jesters were popular in brightly colored clothes and wild hats. Francis himself was a bit of a buffoon.

img_4686_1758.jpgHe was an object of admiration to all, and he endeavored to surpass others in his flamboyant display of vain accomplishments: wit, curiosity, practical jokes and foolish talk, songs, and soft and flowing garments…he used to strut about impressively and in high spirits, making his way through the streets of Babylon.” (The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano)

Francis also enjoyed road-side ministry after publicly making his commitment to Gospel living. 

img_4698_1770.jpgGiven these possible insights and more, St. Francis of Assisi Parish planners decided a parade in honor of St. Francis would be a perfect finish to a great celebration. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and others entered into the spirit of October 4, 2008 by becoming active participants in the merry-making. Father Bob Konopa, OFM, Channel of Peace Itinerant Ministry, was the ‘Francis’ tractor driver for the FSCC float.

Beginning at the parish offices, this parade proceeded the wrong way up a one way street, unlike all other parades in Manitowoc, WI. This, too, made this first Francis Fest/Oktoberfest Parade unforgetable and fitting for a medieval jester’s honor.

7 thoughts on “Manitowoc’s First Ever Francis Fest/Oktoberfest Parade”

  1. Sister Pat Sevcik says:

    Francis Fest was such a good experience for Pam and I, as well as others who joined in the celebration of St. Francis! We still marvel at his life and great joy, his death (the Transitus Service, celebrating his entry into heaven),and finally,the journey of a parade and fun. One young man who watched the parade, approached several of us after the parade. He said it was worth it coming to see the parade, especially to see all of the Sisters who were there. Francis, passionate lover of God, pray for us and help us to always find joy in Jesus and in serving others!

  2. What a great event–Manitowoc’s first ever Francis Fest/October Fest Parade!!! The number of Sisters who walked along the float, those enjoying the parade, the fun music playing from our website, the Sisters dressed in habits from the past along with our young women in formation, plus Fr.Bob ofm on the tractor and Brother Sun shining down on us made for an unforgettable St.Francis Day!

  3. Have you ever walked down the middle of a metal-grilled bridge and felt/saw the holes under the soles of your feet and knew you had to keep moving forward? Now I know why there are sidewalks on the sides of these structures spanning and providing passage over bodies of water! We did have a great time at the parade. And I’ve heard some of the Sisters have ideas for next year!

  4. Leslie says:

    I see that you didn’t take me up on the Kazoo band idea Sister Julieann. 🙂 It looks like you had fun. Those kids look so cute in their saint costumes.

  5. Leslie, we put you down for the first Francis Fest Marching Kazoo Band in 2009! Peace and all good!

  6. Sister Rosangela says:

    How proud I am of our Convent Community and College Community for taking part in this parade. What a wonderful way to spread Franciscan joy and comradery. It was great to see so many celebrating. Congratulations to all who worked on the convent float and those who rode on it too!
    Sister Rosangela

  7. Cindy Willison says:

    What a wonderful event for the public to see and enjoy! I am sure that you brought new awareness to many people about St. Francis and your community! What a great evangelization tool! I am sure the kids who participated will never forget it! Great idea! I would love to see your next parade! Can you advertise the details of these types of events on the main page of your web site in the future? Love and prayers – Cindy Willison

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