A Short History of St. Maurice Parish
June 28th, 1970. I was very excited that Sunday morning as I drove west on Stirling Road looking for the Church of St. Maurice. Nothing there. I turned around and drove east on Stirling road. Nothing there. I turned around and drove west again and saw the very pristine Arapahoe farm horses grazing, overgrown fields and a run down house and stable. I could not find a church. St. Maurice wasn’t a church at all; it was that old stable waiting to become Church through the “Living stones” of women and men who would come there. (1 Peter 2:4-6)
And the people came week after week. They came from all points in Broward and Dade Counties. The Church of the Stable seemed not to have boundaries. They came with buckets, brooms, paint, shovels, ladders and hammers. They brought their own talents to share.
And from all that giving we were getting wonderful liturgies from our founding pastor, Father David Russell. His stories of Jesus’ love for us, stories we had heard so many times before, seemed some how this time to be speaking just to you. We sat in those borrowed folding chairs on the old dirt floor and never once dozed off.
I remember one homily. Father got distracted by a man sitting just to his left. He couldn’t stop looking at the man but tried to continue talking when finally out of absolute frustration he said, “Good lord man what are you eating?” With a “who me” look on his face the man simply said, “Chewing gum”.
Of course this made us all laugh. Some of those lighthearted moments made us realize that this was personal; this was one on one.
As with children, the first 5 years are the formative years. So it was with us, we became the “good and holy people” Father Russell repeatedly called us. We built Country Fair, we wept at the Living Passion of Jesus, and we danced at the Mardi gras costume ball. We were the Living Stones.
When our Irish Leprechaun pastor, Father Sean Mulcahy, came in 1976 we were ready to become the people of God reaching out to world hunger through The Hunger Program. Country Fair took on a more intense focus as 100% of the fair profits would fund this fledging program. The four fair days were at least 20 hours long. We were dirty and tired; but, we were happy. I remember sitting outside the rectory after the mid-night workers mass, drinking “Harvey Wallbangers” and throwing pebbles at Father Sean’s windows. If we weren’t asleep, neither could he be asleep.
The mantra, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus worked its way into all Stable life. For 25 years Father Sean led us through “Christ Renews His Parish” weekends and wonderfully entertaining dinner theatres. We built both a parish hall and an education building. Living Stones.
Then as our century turned we got our own centenarian pastor, Father Roger Holoubek… just kidding he wasn’t THAT old. We loved him from the first time we set eyes on him because we could see how he loved us. We sang a very silly welcoming song for him and he laughed and laughed his head off.
Because of Fr. Roger’s guidance we have come to a greater awareness and understanding of the poor and suppressed people who are our neighbors. We now have programs such as “Bold Justice”, “Share-A-Meal” and support for the farm workers and Darfur.
From the beginning we have embraced the words of Madeleine L’Engle that are on the outside west wall of the Stable: “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God”. We are a joy filled people reaching out to bring Jesus’ joy to others. However, if the swing vote had gone the other way, you would have seen Benjamin Franklin’s words, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” on the outside west wall.
I love this Church. I love you who are these Living Stones. You have enriched my faith life. I thank God for each one of you.