Wearing a black cowboy hat, long black jacket and a big ol’ “Praying Cowboy” belt buckle, Father Kevin strode into his Happy Trails reception on Saturday evening in an outfit befitting a preacher in a cowboy movie.

It was a night for parishioners and friends to bid an early farewell to our “cowboy pastor” as he prepares to hit the trail for his new assignment in Butler. Attendees spent the evening chatting with the man who has been our beloved pastor for over three and a half years, thanking him and wishing him well.

Parishioner Andy Chomos played guitar as April Shanahan led the singing of that famous cowboy song, “Happy Trails”.

Attendees had the opportunity to drop off a card or present, sign a guest book or make a donation toward a gift card that the parish will give to Father Kevin with the caveat that the funds are to be used for something “western” like a saddle pad or cowboy boots or whatever he wants.

Those donations totaled nearly $2,000 so the possibilities have now expanded to something like a cowboy destination vacation to Wyoming or Colorado.

Special thanks goes to Hospitality Chair Jenna Shanahan for organizing the western-themed dinner as well as preparing a Memory Book for Father Kevin, making horse and cowboy table decorations out of wine corks, and a little bit of everything else. Thanks also goes to Dick Heilman and the parish office staff of Gail Clendaniel, Mary King and Cindy Cusic Micco.

We also thank parishioners Rick and Sandy Beatty for designing and printing the beautiful blue bandanas that everyone received as a keepsake.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who pitched in to make the evening a success and to everyone who brought baked goods for our dessert table. They were delicious.

For a photo gallery of the Happy Trails reception, click here.