WELLS---When he walked out the main doors of St. Mary Church in Wells on Wednesday afternoon, Fr. Fred Morse, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Kennebunk and Wells, couldn’t believe his eyes and ears as the large parking lot which sat empty when he arrived in the morning was now filled with rows and rows of parishioners in their cars and the sound of celebratory honking in the air (video clip).
One by one, over 50 cars drove past Fr. Morse who stood in the walkway in front of the church and happily greeted each parishioner and family participating in this very special celebration of a milestone.
“We encouraged participants to make signs and posters and to honk and call out greetings to Fr. Fred. Fr. Agustin (Sebasthiyan, parochial vicar at the parish) led him out the main door and the first car immediately began the parade,” said Mary Colombo, a member of the Holy Spirit Pastoral Council. “The 25th anniversary of a priest’s ordination is something to be cherished and valued.”
A basket at the end of the parade route allowed for parishioners to offer gifts and cards to Fr. Morse.
Fr. Morse was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph J. Gerry, O.S.B., on June 24, 1995, at St. John Church in Bangor, and since that time, has served in Daigle, Fort Kent, South Portland, Portland, Peaks Island, and Brunswick, before being appointed pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in July of 2016.
In any other year, a celebration reception would have been held to honor Fr. Morse, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade seemed a fitting replacement and gesture for a man who has given the Diocese of Portland so much.
“This parade makes me feel like one of the high-school graduates,” joked Fr. Morse. “It’s great to see so many familiar faces. Even with masks on!”