From the Pastor: Thank You For Giving!
There are dozens of volunteers at Epiphany who go about their “duties” without drawing attention to themselves or to the work they are doing. It almost seems that the tasks get done by elves in the middle of the night. Some of the tasks take place even in the midst of crowds at the church but are done in such a way that nobody seems to even notice the workers. Today, the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving Day, I wish to point out a few of the things that fall into this important category. I do this for several reasons. First, to thank those who so tirelessly and selflessly give of themselves in taking on necessary or desirable or helpful jobs here at the church, not for recognition but simply out of love for God, His house, and His children. Another reason I want to point out these works of charity is to help others see what kind of things are available for them to do, or to give ideas as to what other kinds of things might be done. People are often hoping that they can help out at the church but are afraid of stepping on other people’s toes, so they don’t do anything. Others look at something and think to themselves that the parish would be at least a little bit better off if only “this” or “that” were done but are afraid of doing it, assuming that if it was always “this” way, there must be a reason far better than that nobody ever did it! As I am writing this, I am going to refrain from mentioning names, since some of the people really don’t want to be named and praised publicly (God knows their names and will reward their efforts and that is enough) but also because I am a coward! I know that I will forget quite a few people and you never know whose feelings will get hurt, so it is easier to just be general and let everyone fill in their own name where it belongs.
Let me start with the Sunday food folks. The coffee not only doesn’t brew itself, it also doesn’t stock itself in our pantry! We have volunteers who bring in, at their own expense quite often, all of the food and drinks that can so easily be taken for granted. Coffee, milk, juice, cream, sugar, tea, napkins, donuts, bagels, cream cheese, and even home-made goodies don’t just magically appear all nicely set out for the after-Mass crowd, but rather many people work very hard to make it all happen and then stay and clean up afterward. Of course, many people cannot help out with the food and drinks because they have to rush off to one of the many groups which meet after Mass. But of course those groups are run by volunteers, too! It takes a lot of people a lot of time and energy and often money to run the American Heritage Girls, the Troops of St. George, the Council of Catholic Women, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and all of the other groups which meet and fulfill needs at the parish. And even within each group there are a lot of tasks which may seem small but which are absolutely necessary to get done and there are countless people who, while not “in charge” of the group, are extremely beneficial to it running properly. Just as a means of showing this, taking a look at the Holy League, there are men who have “jobs” to do and have basically taken charge of doing them every meeting. The men who light the candles, who set out the monstrance, who lead the chanting and rosary, who put away the humeral veil, who lock the doors, who collect the prayer sheets, and so many other little tasks, which, if not done, would lead to chaos or to the overworking of just one man (me!) and the eventual end of the group. Every group which meets here has people who do those “little things” that make everything run “effortlessly” for everyone else.
Then there are those who sing in the schola, who show up for practice at church, who practice at home, who chant for funerals, for special Masses, for Sunday Vespers, and other seemingly endless times when hymns are appreciated. Of course there are altar boys (and altar men!) who serve each liturgical event and men who train them and schedule them, plus sacristans who set up and clear away all the necessary items. And the lady who launders the liturgical linens and the young ladies (DOVES) learning to sew those same linens and the ladies who are teaching them about care of God’s house. There also has been a very visible change in our outdoor area, too, as plants and shrubs and trees and grasses have appeared and disappeared in ways that make the whole landscape look much more beautiful. Unassuming workers have been toiling in hot, humid weather all for the Glory of God and for the edification of the rest of us.
Obviously, I am not able to even list all of the groups and individuals who make this church run so well but I am thankful for each and every one of them. If you were reading this and thinking something like, “I never thought about who did that” or “I would be able to assist in this” feel free to join those who are already working in the Lord’s vineyard! Volunteer for something that only you can do or that anyone could do but isn’t being done! And thanks for doing it!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka