Dancing the Charleston and writing haikus

by Tom Humphrey

On December 8th Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Ignatius Church in Yardley to kick off a year-long celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the parish.

The Archbishop encouraged the parish, which was formed in 1920, to “look back with gratitude and to look forward with hope.” Under the direction of its fifth pastor, Fr. Andrew C. Brownholtz, the Yardley Catholic community has agreed to “let the celebrations begin.”

They have just moved from dancing the Charleston, to writing haikus, and it is only February.

The pastor had encouraged each of the many ministries the church sponsors to find an appropriate way to recognize this 100-year milestone.

Several different events are in the works. The parish held a Roaring 20’s Party on February 21st at The Rose Bank Winery, where a happy crowd of parishioners donned their flapper-style dresses, beads, and headbands and danced wildly to the Charleston and other 1920’s music.

Barely recovering from this breathtaking evening, the people of St. Ignatius are now responding enthusiastically to the Knights of Columbus, Fr. James McCafferty Council’s project to publish a Memory Book in May.

The unique feature of this book will be recalling significant memories people hold dear in the form of a haiku, an ancient form of poetry limited to just 17 total syllables.

So from practicing dance steps the Yardley Catholics are now counting syllables on their finger tips for three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.

The Knights of Columbus agreed to use the haiku as the format for the inclusion of a memory because it is easy for people of all ages to write, it provides consistency and uniformity in a fun challenge, it eliminates verbosity, and it produces amazing insights and stimulates deeper thinking.

The first call for submission of these haikus was made in the church bulletin on January 19th, and the first respondents sent in their haikus by e-mail within four hours of the bulletin’s distribution.

The Principal of the parish school and the Director of Religious Education have agreed to urge the students and their parents to participate.

The deadline for entries is April 7th and the book will be available in May.

Any person is limited to three haikus, but all family members can participate.

So far, topics for the haikus range from mentioning specific priests who have served the parish in the past, specific nuns who have taught in the school, and giving personal thanks for special, happy experiences people remember.

The book will list writers in alphabetical order and number their haikus in sequential order from first received to later entries. Friends of the parish may send their haikus in by e-mail to or drop them off at the rectory at 999 Reading Avenue, Yardley.

Tom Humphrey, a parishioner since 1967 and whose three children attended St. Ignatius School, has agreed to serve as editor of the book and to collect and layout the responses.

He is very grateful for the assistance and encouragement of his fellow Knights of Columbus.

He encourages new parish members and the many loyal older members, students and parents who have gone on to making their own history and who may have moved to parishes near and far, to dust off their poetic talents and become published in this keepsake book, reminding all that in 2120 “people will enjoy hearing what the old folks said 100 years ago”

A few samples show humor, love, faith, and hope.

All memories are worthwhile.

On day one, first grade,

Sister Charlene promised to

Love us, no matter what.

So blessed are we to

See new baptized babies join

Our parish each month.

Lucky the boys who

Had Jack Hagan as their coach

In the CYO.

Looking forward to

Birthday cake with one hundred

Candles to blow out.