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Kudos Corner is a means of acknowledging those in our parish who share their time, talent and treasure to spread the Good News of God's unconditional love. It is intended to lift up and celebrate the actions of individuals and groups within our faith community who touch hearts and make a difference.


Author: Bill Tonnis

Bill Tonnis's Article

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes our Bereavement Committee.

Our Bereavement Committee is an amazingly dedicated group of volunteers, who under the guidance of Pastoral Associate Ken Meymann, help people through the funeral planning process and beyond. In response to a significant need that was perceived by the parishioners and the priests, Marilyn Coffaro and Rita Griffin started the Bereavement Committee. 

It is truly a labor of love for all those involved. The process takes the family of the deceased through the whole funeral: initial contact from the funeral home or the family, contact with the priest who will celebrate the funeral Mass, gathering the family to plan the funeral liturgy, including lectors, Eucharistic ministers, music, petitions, program design, timing of a eulogy, pall bearers, servers, and planning of the graveside service and anything and everything in between! If the family gets overwhelmed by the decisions ahead, they offer to pitch in to assume any role, as readers or Eucharistic ministers or whatever gap needs to be filled. They are ready and willing. 

Our committee takes each funeral personally: they are hosting the funeral in “our house” and do everything they can to make the family and whole congregation welcome. They try to meet the needs of all present, even if it means finding a source of calories for a diabetic person experiencing low blood sugar. They are true ministers. And as all good ministers are, they are good listeners.

Our committee is motivated to give back for those that helped them with their families funerals in the past. They support the families in their most vulnerable time of need, losing one of their family members. They feel uplifted and blessed by the whole process of service to another, following the greatest commandment to love thy neighbor. By doing this ministry they experience the real good in people. They find that funerals are a reaffirmation of life, a positive event, full of love and caring for others in need.

The process doesn’t stop there. Bill Tonnis, Pastoral Associate for Outreach, calls on each family at an appropriate time after the funeral. A series of books of grief support are sent out at regular intervals to help in the grieving process.

All who have their funerals here are remembered during a special Mass on All Souls Day, this year on Monday, November 2nd at 7 p.m.

Our Kudos go out to the dedicated members of the Bereavement Committee, their selfless gift to the families of the deceased and to all of us in this parish. They truly are the face of Jesus for those in need. May God’s blessing continue to fall to each of them, may the Holy Spirit continue to inspire them, and may we all continue to pray for them. 

Kudos Corner salutes: Marge Byrne, Joanne Coffaro, Marilyn Coffaro, Virginia Cushard, Peggy Flanigan, Dorothy Gillman, Rita Griffin, Cristina Holmes, Marilyn Jackson Marx, Pat Kiehl, Gwynne Krekeler, Marcella Leibel, Ann Macke, Monica McCullough, Judy Mellott, Ken Meymann, Thelma Murray, Sandy Peter, Dorothy Rasfeld, Sue Schwarz and Char Tribbe.


October 2015, this month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Dick and Liz Metz.

This month our parish focuses on the Corporal Work of Mercy “Visit the sick.” Who better to epitomize this act of mercy than Dick and Liz Metz who have been serving the sick and elderly at Liberty Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Three Rivers for the past ten years? They began serving there after a request by Sr. Marla for Communion Service Presiders. When Vita Stange asked them to take over for her in organizing the services, Dick and Liz picked up the ball and have made sure the residents have had regular weekly services ever since.

Dick says, “We have done our best to see that the Catholics, and anyone who wants to come, has either Mass, a Communion service, or Rosary every Wednesday as well as on Sunday. We have several deacons who have helped with Sunday service over the years. We have been blessed to have Father Lacke, Father Patrick and currently Father Marc celebrating a monthly Mass. We also have been fortunate to have a priest for most Easters and Christmas. The residents now have Bill Tonnis for Spiritual support, and they love his music before service and Mass. They also have Nancy Gates, who volunteers her time to bring residents to the chapel. She remembers all their names and watches out for their welfare! We have known many residents over the years. Their sufferings, sometimes their deaths, can be sad, but there is only joy in serving them.

Kudos Corner salutes Dick and Liz…as well as all of our volunteers at the nursing center!

September 2015, This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Paul and Beth Weil

Paul and Beth have generously given their time, talent and treasure to Our Lady of the Visitation since they became members 22 years ago. They have chaired the major award at VisiFest for the past 15 years. Both have participated in CRHP in giving and receiving and they continue to help with the food for the current groups. Individually, they have also given of themselves in many different ways. In connection with school, Beth was the PTO Treasurer, chaired the 8th grade celebration in 2001, was a room mom, playground monitor, and helped in computer class. She also taught pre-school religion for five years, was on parish council for five years, and was a Den Leader for four years. Paul coached soccer, was a member of choir, and has been a Eucharistic Minister for 15 years.

 

Together they have raised three boys, Paul II, Timmy and Michael, who all graduated from Visitation and then Elder. Their sons all served at Mass. Paul and Beth say that through volunteering and being involved at Visi they have made lifelong friends and have had a lot of fun at the same time! According to Beth, “We have enjoyed being a part of a special, spiritual and giving community. It has been very rewarding to give of our time and talents. We have found that we receive much more than we give.”

 

Kudos Corner salutes them both!


July 2015, This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Sharon Dickman and Marcella Leibel.

Sharon Dickman and Marcella LeibelSharon has been a dedicated parishioner here for 42 years. She and husband Jim are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 4. During her kids’ school years she was active serving in the lunchroom, library, Olympic Day as well as singing in the choir! Her service grew in 2003 when she helped Fr. Anthony by setting up for the visiting priest at the 8:30 morning Mass and gradually she expanded to ordering supplies, doing the laundry and replacing candles. Sharon was able to cut back duties after two sacristans were hired earlier this year but she continues to do the laundry which includes altar cloths, purificators and the servers’ albs. Sharon is truly a model for living your faith. She calls the service she is doing for the parish “Busy Prayer,” saying it allows her time to pray while working. What a great example of what St. Paul said: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
 
Marcella is one of the founding members of our parish. She and her husband Charlie were married here in October of 1947. It was the 9th wedding in our church which had just opened in February of that year. Marcella is the mother of 5, grandmother of 13 and great grandmother of 11. In the early years, Marcella was a member of a group of women that volunteered to clean the church. They would bring their kids with them and work while the kids played outside. Marcella also volunteered in the cafeteria and at school. In recent years she volunteered to help Sharon doing the church laundry when the former sacristan retired. Marcella says this is something she can do for the church that gives her a sense of responsibility. But that’s not all Marcella does for Visi! She also helps a group of women process The Voice of Visitation for mailing each month, serves on the Bereavement Committee, belongs to the “Sagers” group and attends various bible study groups. All this…at the age of 89!
 
FYI:  There are several steps to launder the purificators:
Treat the wine and lipstick stains
Soak the cloths for several hours
Rinse twice and dispose of water where people do not walk
Launder/iron
 
Sharon and Marcella both have helped each other in many ways…like when Marcella’s husband was ill and passed away in 2013. That’s when Sharon covered for her. And then when Sharon had knee surgery recently…Marcella covered for her! These are two angels that serve the Lord behind the scenes!
 
Kudos Corner salutes them both!
 


June 2015, This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Linda Leisring.

After many years of service in our parish’s religious education programs…Linda is taking a much deserved break! Linda has been doing catechetical work since she was 17, first at her own parish, then here at Visitation ever since she got married. She helped Sr. Mary Tewes with the PREP first Sacrament Preparation sessions from 1992 until Sr. Mary retired in 2012. Linda also helped with the Sunday morning program some of that time. She also helped with the Summer PREP program some of those years…even leading the music sessions when there wasn’t musician available to serve. Linda also served as Sr. Mary’s secretary on occasion. Linda and her husband Paul raised two sons and two daughters, including Laura Hampel, our current Pastoral Associate for Youth Ministry. 

According to Sr. Mary, “Linda had become a pleasant presence in my office, when she came to help. We have become friends over all this time. I really appreciated Linda, her love for the Church, Our Lady of Visitation Parish and all the people.” 

Linda’s daughter Laura says Linda had an amazing impact on her life. “She has such a profound love for the Eucharist and a deep love and trust in God and that bleeds into every aspect of her life...how could it not?! At some point all of us kids helped in her PREP classroom and it was so mesmerizing to see our mom in that setting, talking about reconciliation and what it means to be close to God.”

When asked about her many years of service here, Linda said, “It is a joy to help children understand how exciting their Catholic faith can be and that they can have a best friend in Jesus.”

Think of all the students Linda has influenced over her years here at Visitation!

Kudos Corner salutes her!