Parishioners, students offer surprise visits during ‘non-Derby’ weekend

By Jessica Able and Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writers

With the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby postponed until Sept. 5, along with the Derby festivities, people found other ways and reasons to celebrate.

Members of St. Francis Xavier Church in Mount Washington, Ky., the St. Xavier High School community and St. Nicholas Academy held drive-by celebrations on what would have been a long Derby weekend.

Father Dale Cieslik, pastor of St. Francis Xavier, was treated to a surprise birthday parade May 2, which would have been Derby day.

Margee Joseph, the parish’s pastoral associate, said Father Cieslik misses the parishioners and they miss him.

“This is his special birthday, his 65th birthday, and we wanted to honor him,” she said. “We’ve been doing virtual Masses and he’s missed seeing the parishioners. We’ve been closed since mid-March and I know the people miss him, too.”

They called the parade “The 65th Running of Father Dale.”

“I’m in shock and I’m speechless,” said Father Cieslik after the parade. “I feel very much affirmed. To do this right now is just incredible.”

Xaverian Brothers living at the Ryken House on Poplar Level Road were treated to a parade of cars in honor of Religious Brothers Day May 1.

Members of the St. Xavier High School community celebrated the brothers, who live in the retirement home on the St. Xavier campus, for their many years of dedication and commitment to education in the U.S. and around the world.

People in a few dozen cars honked and waved signs of appreciation as they paraded past the brothers, who sat in a line of chairs on what would have been a sunny Oaks Day in Louisville.

“We enjoyed the change in a routine that is becoming real dull,” said Brother Peter Campbell. “Thankfully, however, we are well and really want for nothing. Please extend our appreciation and prayers to the faculty and students that joined the parade.”
Brother Campbell said it was a “fitting change to a quiet Louisville Derby weekend.”

St. Nicholas Academy planned to hold its annual Panther Prowl on April 30 and instead held a car parade to help students, families, faculty and staff feel connected.

“This has been so hard for all of us. I’ve never missed a building and the people associated with it so bad in all my life,” said Jenni Meyer, St. Nicholas’ technology teacher. “Seeing those faces, knowing that they miss us as much as we miss them helped me get through the day. I held it together until I got home. I won’t say how bad it was when I got home though!”

Record Photo by Jessica Able
Xaverian Brothers, above, waved to members of the St. Xavier High School community who drove by in celebration of Religious Brothers Day May 1. Below, Felicia Ashcraft and her son Carter took part in St. Nicholas Academy’s “Panther Parade” held in the school’s parking lot April 30. The parade replaced a yearly Derby-themed event.
Photo Special to The Record by Jenni Meyer

Record Photo by Ruby Thomas
Father Dale Cieslik, above, waved as a parade of cars drove by, below, to wish him a happy birthday May 2. Following public health recommendations, Father Cieslik wore a face mask — made to look like a Roman collar — to protect the people passing by and to protect himself.
Record Photo by Ruby Thomas

The Record
Written By
The Record
More from The Record
Teens hear from refugees at youth gathering
By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer Gabriel Kwai told 300 teens that...
Read More
0 replies on “Parishioners, students offer surprise visits during ‘non-Derby’ weekend”