By Sean Ditch
After just one year as the priest for the parishes of Holy Childhood and St. Liborius of St. Libory, Father Nicholas Fleming held his final Sunday Mass on Sunday, June 26th at Holy Childhood in Mascoutah. Father Nicholas was reassigned by the Belleville Diocese and Bishop McGovern to serve a number of parishes in Belleville: Blessed Sacrament, Queen of Peace, and St Peter’s. Father Nicholas shared his optimism in the relocation.
“I’m hoping to get involved in education and hopefully at the high school [Althoff Catholic High School],” shared Father Nicholas Fleming. “I’m not sure if that will be the case, but we will see!
“It’ll also be good to get some experience in Belleville too since I haven’t had an assignment there yet.”
It had been known for the last month that Father Nicholas was reassigned. Members openly expressed mixed emotions on the news; many wished to not see him go, however those same emotions were met with optimism for his future and thankfulness for his time in Mascoutah at Holy Childhood.
For his final Mass at the parish, the church was full of families and parishioners of all ages. At the Mass’ conclusion, applause and cheers reverberated within the walls of the church. The cheers lasted for close to a minute, and was a gesture by the parishioners that Father Nicholas expressed his gratitude in, before leading the congregation outside.
Once outside, the parish served coffee and donuts, and parishioners waited in line to thank Father Nicholas one final time. Parishioners also wished him luck in his future and some took photos with him.
“I’ll miss the people the most,” expressed Father Nicholas. “Holy Childhood has so many good and loving people that I’ve gotten to know over the last year. People that go above and beyond for anything and anyone. And often they work quietly behind the scenes.
“It’s amazing to see and it was special to be a part of and to know their stories and families.”
Father Nicholas did share that he will still be around to visit too, at future parish picnics and other Masses he may occasionally serve in the future.