BLESSES WATERS OF KAW.
Custom of Greek Catholics Carried
Out by Priest.
Clad in the rich silken robes of his office and surrounded by a number of vested altar boys, the Rev. John Markowitch, pastor of the Servian Greek Catholic church of St. George, at First street and Lyons in Kansas City, Kas., knelt before an improvised alter near the middle of the Central avenue bridge yesterday morning and invoked a blessing on the Kaw river. One thousand parishioners attended the ceremony. After blessing the river the priest sprinkled each one of the church members present with water drawn from the river and administered the sacrament to them.
The congregation met in the church yesterday morning and marched from there to the bridge. The procession was led by six vested altar boys, who carried candles. They were followed by the priest, who was dressed in rich robes and carried a crucifix. Following the priest was a brass band which led a column of about 600 men. After the ceremony, which lasted about one hour, the participants marched back to the church.
Later the priest visited the homes of each of his parishioners and sprinkled their door posts with the blessed water. The custom of blessing rivers, while comparatively new in Kansas City, is an old one in Servia. The rivers are blessed there once a year, and the water used for baptisms taken from them.
Father Markowitch, who conducted the ceremony yesterday, is 52 years old. He came to Kansas City, Kas., two years ago, and in January, 1908, performed a ceremony similar to that performed yesterday, which was the first of the kind in Kansas City. The parish has grown from 800 to more than 2,000 communicants since he took charge.