It was a joyous celebration, as more than 70 youth and parishioners gathered for the annual end-of-year Religious Education Parish Picnic. The event took place on Sunday, May 21 at the Spencer Beach Pavilion in Kawaihae, in commemoration of another fruitful year of Religious Education in the parish community.
“This event was also a tribute picnic celebrating the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” says Andrea Costanzo.
An annual end-of-year picnic took place for many years, up until the COVID-19 shutdowns a few years ago. This year’s picnic was the first such event since the pandemic.
“By resurrecting and reinvigorating this event in 2023, we have come full circle in celebrating our youth,” Andrea says.
The picnic brings together the members of both Ascension Mission and Annunciation as one parish community.
“We are geographically about 15 miles apart, so this event is a blessed excuse for mingling in the midst of food, fellowship, and fun,” Andrea says.
Several of the men, led by Barron Bertelmann, Master Chef James Anakalea, and Kelly Ah-Hee, grilled a delicious mix of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs. There were also more than a dozen potluck trays along with salads and desserts.
“The RE kids kept busy playing cornhole, basketball, and racing remote-controlled model vehicles — not to mention several dips in the calm ocean waters so well known to this location on the Big Island,” Andrea says.
Fred Costanzo, the Tech Ministry lead, broadcast hours of classic Hawaiian music throughout the venue, adding nostalgia to the air for those who attended. Fr. Tony presided as the Master of Ceremonies and enjoyed the pancit varieties.
Overall, the picnic was a fantastic event for the parish communities with many people involved in making it a success. Others who helped out were all of our catechists — Aunties Amanda, Guia, Grace, Darlene, Andrea, and Uncles Fred and Mark.
“They sweated during setup, smiled during serving, and collectively made cleaning up a breeze,” Andrea says. “It would be remiss of us if Mary Erickson did not receive a very special Mahalo for providing sage advice along with drinks and beautifully decorated cakes! She also transported our amazing Catechist Leader, Aunty Jane, to and from the event.”
With an excess of delicious leftover food, after the picnic ended, Dian Burroughs and Toni McPeek distributed containers of the leftovers to those in need throughout the community.
During the summer months, the children and families in Religious Education are encouraged to continue making Mass a top priority, even on vacation.
“Your kids are so computer savvy, so why not have them search for a church near their vacation site and find its Mass times?” Andrea says. “Try to get to Mass a few minutes early to introduce yourselves. Take in what makes their place of worship special. Then after Mass, maybe find a local restaurant where all of you can enjoy a family breakfast together.”