Corpus Christi Catholic Church’s first community picnic won’t be traditional.
Father Viet Huynh, the pastor, came up with the idea to incorporate various cultures with food booths representing different countries, such as the United States, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Thailand. It also will feature games for children and adults with prizes.
“With an event like this, people can get together and let go of all of our differences and celebrate the unity of the church,” Huynh said. “We’d like to share our faith with the people, and let the people know they are welcome here.”
The picnic will start around noon, after Mass at 10:30 a.m. June 23 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 307 Beach Drive, Destin. The public is welcome.
Mass will be with the Rev. William A. Wack, CSC, bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola – Tallahassee. Mimi Sisson, a church member and volunteer, believes Mass will be bilingual, spoken in English and Spanish. The church hosts a Spanish Mass twice monthly.
After Mass, church volunteers will serve the various food types on the church grounds.
“We have bratwurst from Germany. From the U.S., we have sliders and hot dogs. We have pasta and meatballs from Italy. Thai, we have chicken on a stick,” Sisson said. “It’s all going to be finger food, and grazing-type of food.”
Roxanne Fischer, a member of the parish council, said it’s reasonably priced. Most food items are only $1.
“We’re going to be selling tickets, so there’s only cash exchange in one or two places — very affordable, very relaxing environment,” Fischer said. “We just want everyone to enjoy the fellowship. We’re using this format for diversity, so all will feel welcome to participate in this event we’re having.”
There will be seating available in an indoor hall, and bingo available in another hall, Sisson said. The event will also feature outdoor games such as cornhole and a ring toss.
The idea for a church picnic stems from the name of the church.
“Corpus Christi — the meaning of it is the feast of the body and blood of Christ,” Huynh said. “It’s so important to us and so important to our church and the Catholic people here, and we’d like to celebrate it and share with the people in this area.”
Sisson said the picnic goes along with the church’s other outreach initiatives, such as collecting canned goods for the homeless, and events, such as a health fair in September.
“We have been trying to get a lot done in the community,” Sisson said. “We are really trying to reach out.”
Many church members will volunteer at the picnic, running the food and game booths.
Sisson believes Huynh is responsible for the participation and focus on outreach.
“He is young. He is vivacious,” Sisson said. “He is very into helping the community as well as doing something like this.”
Fischer is most excited about everyone coming together.
“I’m excited about being able to provide a format where people are welcome,” Fischer said. “And to celebrate on the grounds of our church. We’re very excited that the bishop is coming to celebrate with us.”