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Fargo Diocese celebration to honor the soil, those who work it

Grafton farm to host a blessing of livestock, soil.

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Hilladore and Pauline Osowski are joined by family (L-R) Randy Osowski, Brandon Osowski, Fr. Tim Schroeder, Paul Osowski VeAnn Green and Bob Osowski with Duke the dog at the family farm east of Grafton where Sunday's 2nd annual Rural Life Celebration will be held. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

GRAFTON -- Hilladore and Pauline Osowski will celebrate their faith on the family farm near Grafton on Sunday with hundreds of other Catholics from across the Fargo Diocese.

Hilladore, 91, and Pauline, 89, this year are hosts of the annual Rural Life celebration, which will include a Mass and blessing of livestock and animals by Bishop John Folda.

The Osowskis’ Catholic faith has been an integral part of their 66 years together and bringing people together to celebrate it at a Mass on the farm is a privilege for the couple.

“It’s quite an honor,” Pauline Osowski said.

The couple has lived on the farmstead since the early 1950s, when they planted trees and built a house on a former field.

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“There wasn’t a stick here -- started it from scratch,” said Hilladore Osowski, who with his wife, raised their five children with an appreciation for the land and a belief in their Catholic faith.

“We would come back from church, and we’d walk through the fields,” Hilladore Osowski said.

“People are drawn close to God when they’re close to the earth,” said the Rev. Tim Schroeder, the Osowskis’ parish priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oakwood.

It’s important to recognize that farming and rural living area calling for many people in the Fargo Diocese, Schroeder said.

“The Diocese of Fargo is a rural diocese, and rural life has always been a prominent part of our diocesan history,” said Bishop John Folda. “But rural life today faces many challenges, and I want to do all I can to support the faith of our rural parishes, communities and farm families.

“The faith has flourished for generations among our rural families and the church needs to be with them as they live the faith and pass it along to their children and grandchildren. I hope by having an annual celebration in different parts of the diocese that we can give thanks for God’s blessings and confirm the rural faithful in their calling as followers of Christ," he said.

This is the second Rural Life celebration the Fargo Diocese has held. Last year, it was it took place at a farm near Harvey. The celebration will be rotated to different areas of the diocese in future years.

It’s fitting that the Osowskis, who are retired from farming but maintain a garden that includes cabbage, tomatoes and onions, are hosting the Rural Life celebration this year. The couple enjoy entertaining and making meals, which include home-canned vegetables and fruits from their garden, for guests, Schroeder said.

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“Mr. and Mrs. Hospitality, whenever I come for Communion visits, I can’t get away without supper,” he said.

Besides a noon lunch, the Rural Life celebration will include a blessing of the land and animals at 1:30 p.m., Mass at 2 p.m. and entertainment at 3:30 p.m.

Farm animals, including cows, horses and a lamb, will be at the farm for the Rural Life celebration. Guests may bring a small container of soil from their fields or gardens to be blessed. Guests also are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket on which to sit.

Information on the Rural Life celebration can be found at fargodiocese.org/rural-life.

Related Topics: FAITHGRAFTON
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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