September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
For the past 23 years on August 15 - the traditional date for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Diocese of Winona has held a Harvest Mass on the farm of one of its members. The host church community for this year's Harvest Mass was the tri-parishes that includes St. Joseph Catholic Church of Jasper, St. Leo Catholic Church of Pipestone and St. Martin Catholic Church of Woodstock.
The Jasper, Pipestone and Woodstock tri-parishes last hosted a Harvest Mass ten years ago. The 2002 Harvest Mass was held at the Jim and Mary Evans dairy farm, located south of Pipestone.
"They asked us a couple of years ago if we would be interested in hosting the Harvest Mass at our farm," said Pat, who has dairy farmed since 1979. "We looked at each other and said why not?"
"It was an honor to have our farm chosen," said Trudy. "It was a lot of work, but a huge honor."
The Lingens have been married for 28 years and have five grown children: Shane, who works on the family's dairy and has two children, Camden, 2, and Payten, 9 months; Cory, who is employed at C & B Operations in Pipestone; Shelby, a senior at the University of Minnesota; Courtney, a sophomore at South Dakota State University; and Caci, who is a sophomore at St. Cloud State.
While the Lingens, who milk 200 head and farm 300 acres, had agreed to host the Harvest Mass they hadn't expected to do so this year.
"We were told in January that the original hosts for 2012 had backed out," said Trudy. "We would have liked to have had more time, but we told them we could do it."
One of the major obstacles the Lingens faced involved the shortage of lawn space on their farm.
"We seeded down part of an adjoining field to grass to increase our lawn size," said Pat. "But it just wouldn't rain this summer, so we got mostly weeds."
As the date for the Harvest Mass drew closer, things became increasingly hectic at Lingen Dairy Farm.
"Every spare moment was used to prepare," said Trudy. "There was cleaning to do, phone calls that had to be made and innumerable other arrangements."
The pressure built at the Lingen farm as the time remaining before the Harvest Mass grew short.
"We had to get a lot of stuff done during that last week," said Trudy. "It would have been impossible to get it all accomplished without the help of some very generous volunteers. There were about 15 volunteers who were really involved throughout the whole process and about 30 others who helped us get things ready during the final two days."
A couple of days before the event, a crew of volunteers converged on the Lingen dairy farm to help erect huge tents. Chairs were placed in rows and an altar was constructed from big square hay bales. The day before the Harvest Mass, a volunteer crew of ladies arrived to help decorate the tents and the hay bale altar.
"The meal was all made by parishioners, from the roast beef down to the dessert bars," said Trudy. "A lot of volunteer labor went into preparing all that food. There were a lot of good compliments afterwards about it."
In addition to the Mass, the meal and the fellowship, a temporary petting zoo and a farmer's market were set up for attendees to enjoy.
The Harvest Mass was presided over by the Most Rev. John M. Quinn, Bishop of Winona, with help from Fr. Russell Scepaniak, Deacon Vern Behrends and Fr. Gerald Kosse. A total of 13 priests were in attendance, along with the Bishop Grace 4th Degree Knights of Columbus.
Following the Harvest Mass, worshipers feasted on hearty farm fare that included roast beef, baby red potatoes, and fresh vegetables. Fittingly, ice cream cups and cold, fresh milk helped round out the menu.
"Everything went very smoothly," said Trudy. "Even so, it felt like a huge weight had lifted off our shoulders when we finally sat down for the Mass and were able to relax a bit. We enjoyed ourselves and enjoyed the sense of community that we felt from everyone who attended."
During the meal and the fellowship, the Lingens were able to visit with past hosts and hostesses, along with the host and hostess who are slated to hold the 2013 Harvest Mass.
"We told next year's host and hostess not to worry too much and that they should relax and have fun with it." said Trudy
Asked if they would be willing to host the Harvest Mass again, Trudy said, "Yes, but not right away. It was a wonderful experience and we were very honored to be chosen. But after all this excitement, we are looking forward to things getting back to normal."[[In-content Ad]]
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