The foundation of the St. Pius X Parish:
By Karen Clifford
GRANGER — The first brush with lake effect snow appeared in the Michiana area on Nov. 12, as members of St. Pius X Senior Group gingerly exited the parish bus, affectionately known as the “Holy Roller.” The look of eager anticipation of the upcoming monthly Mass, luncheon and speaker were apparent on their chilled faces.
St. Pius X Senior Group co-leaders Julie and David Bullard, noted that the purpose of the group is to provide adults 55 years of age and older an opportunity to attend a monthly meeting from September through June. The itinerary includes Mass, a luncheon and a speaker or entertainment. “We want our seniors to know that they are a valuable asset for St. Pius X. These people have wonderful experiences that they can share with one another,” said David.
The meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month, beginning with Mass at noon. David begins early in the morning picking up the members who cannot drive to the parish in the Holy Roller from their place of residence. “I love helping the people and hearing their happy chatter,” David exclaimed.
Once the Senior Group members arrived at the parish, several gathered in the church’s narthex to greet one another. For many, like Heather and Walter D’Souza, the monthly meetings provide needed fellowship mixed with spiritual and physical nourishment.
Longtime member Catherine Griffin enjoys rekindling friendships each month at the meetings. Griffin’s gift of public speaking, which she developed in her early career in radio and television, was offered to the parish by volunteering as a lector at Sunday and Senior Group Masses.
As members arrived for Mass, Julie was busy setting up the tables for the luncheon. The cost of the luncheon is usually $3 per person, but the special Thanksgiving meal during November added another $2 to cover the expanded menu of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
The large attendance for Mass in the St. Pius X chapel was highlighted with musical director Jeremy Hoy leading the congregation in “See I Make all Things New” during the Eucharist on the memorial of St. Josaphat.
Following the luncheon, Ellen Jennings from Interim Health Care delivered a presentation on “Communicating with Your Doctor,” to those in attendance.
“We have enlisted speakers whose topics are practical and geared toward the enjoyment and enhancement of the daily lives of seniors. We also will schedule some type of entertainment such as sing-a-longs or instrumentalists for the future. In addition we are open to suggestions from our local community to contact us if they are willing to entertain,” said Julie.
Julie acknowledged the challenges of inviting new members to the group. “It is a fact that people are now retiring later in life. Because of this, many over 55 cannot attend our get-togethers. Hopefully, those people in our parish that are retired will take another look at the Senior Group and participate.”
Being together as a church family also is important, Julie explained. “Our society today is very transient and families are scattered all over the country. The Senior Group gives them a chance to strengthen relationships with like-minded individuals.”
Msgr. William Schooler, pastor of St. Pius X, noted that parish seniors serve as a foundation for the church as it continues to grow. “The Senior Group is critically important to our parish, because the members of this group have been faithful to the parish for years. We are where we are today because we stand on their shoulders. Now that they have more time on their hands, we have a great opportunity to draw them in more deeply, celebrate the vitality of our parish with them, and thank them for what they have done for us,” he said.
One senior who was unable to attend the meeting due to the slippery weather conditions was 98-year-old Martha Rupchock. Her special Senior Group Thanksgiving meal was delivered to her, after which, Martha, who has played the harmonica since she was 15, played a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
For more information on the Senior Group contact Julie or David Bullard at (574) 272-1102.
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