What It Means to Me to Be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion – Sharon Janning

My name is Sharon Janning.  My husband and I have been members of the St. Andrew community for six years.  I currently am an Eucharistic Minister for the Parish and assist with Communion Service at the SEM Haven Health and Residential Care Center on Sunday mornings.  I work with a very gifted team of 5 adults and a student from Mc Nicholas High School.  This is a group of dedicated individuals who take great pride in bringing the Word and Body of Christ to the residents of SEM Haven every week.

Through this ministry, I have found a way to contribute my time to the Parish Community by assisting in the distribution of Communion to those who might otherwise be unable to experience its greatness and benefits on a weekly basis.  I have also had an unexpected benefit by being able to re-connect with a very dear friend.  This individual lost her husband a little over ten years ago.  She moved out of the area to assist her daughter with the care of her children.  We lost touch with each other over the years.  On the first Sunday I was at SEM Haven, I saw a name on the list of residents who were receiving communion that I thought I recognized.  I wondered if it could be her.  To my great surprise I found it was.  She may have more trouble today getting around than she had ten years ago, but she still has the twinkle in her eyes and the beautiful smile I remember from so long ago.  We now look forward to Sunday mornings when we can get together sharing each other’s company praying to God and sharing in His Body.

Sharon Janning

I consider myself rather shy and not to be a very outgoing person.  When I was asked to help with this Ministry I was not sure I could do it.  However, I took the chance to participate and now I can say I am very happy that I did.  I enjoy my Sunday visits with the residents of SEM Haven.  I have been truly blessed in my life with all that I have received from God and my faith.  It is nice to be able to give back to God through this Ministry.

What it Means to Me to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion – Ulrich Attiogbe

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried about many things,  but few things are needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke10:41


There are many ways to serve and adore, our living God, and one avenue in particular is very important to me.

Since I was a child, I always enjoyed Sunday Mass. However, as I grew into a teenager and young adult, I discovered something special beyond just attending Sunday Mass.  My discovery has continued to grow since I became part of the St. Andrew community and became an Extraordinary Minister.

About a year ago I was living in New Jersey and found out that my job would be relocating me to Milford, Ohio.  I did not know anyone in Milford, but my Catholic faith led me to St. Andrew.  As I settled into my new home, I was immediately welcomed at St. Andrew.  Seeing that I was new at St. Andrew, people stopped to greet me and learn a little bit about my background.  I was directed to many members of the Church who welcomed me.  Right away I felt at home.  This is how the House of the Lord should be and St. Andrew has continued to be my God Family home. 

A couple of months ago I was invited to serve at the table of the Lord as an Extraordinary Minister.  Being called to be an Extraordinary Minister has been a way for me to stay with the Lord like Mary and Martha in Luke 10:41.  In this ministry, I feel like Martha as I stand around the altar preparing to receive the Eucharist.  I also listen as Mary did when I hold the Lord in my hand and share Him with the rest of the parish.  Being a Eucharistic Minister gives me time to meet with the Lord personally.  It has taught me that as we push the boundary of our personal comfort zone when it comes to our faith, it can lead us to spend more time with Jesus.  Jesus can reveal himself to us in new ways, and the better we get to know Jesus, the more we grow in blessings according to our faith in Jesus through the Eucharist.

We may hesitate to accept the call to serve the Lord as an Extraordinary Minister because of our imperfections, but openness and time will prove this thought wrong.  At first it might be overwhelming to try to be a good Extraordinary Minister, but I have found that serving in this ministry has helped me to prepare for Sunday Mass.  On Saturday, I ponder my approaching encounter with the Lord on Sunday.  Every time I remember that I am scheduled to be an Extraordinary Minister the next day, I run to the Lord beforehand to ask for penance so that He can welcome me to His table.  This ministry motivates me to keep peace in my life, just like the peace I strive for between the Lord and myself.  In addition, this ministry always reminds me of the Lord’s faithfulness, since the Lord never misses Sunday Mass.  Overall, I believe that serving as an Extraordinary Minister will help us to perfect ourselves for the Lord and become faithful to Him, just as He is to us from the first moment at our birth.    

Finding more ways to stay close to Christ in the Eucharist is important for all of us.  In doing so, we are convinced by Jesus that He is truly present in the Eucharist and still performs many miracles for us today.  This can help us strengthen our Catholic faith no matter what our imperfections may be.  For we will always strive to follow Jesus Christ who was, is, and will continue to be in the Catholic Church through the Eucharist just as He faithfully promised more than 2,000 years ago.

Ulrich Attiogbe

Like it is written: If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful, because he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:13

What it Means to Me to be a Lector – Grace Francomb

I always was a big ham.

Grace Francomb

From about age three I was dancing on amphitheater stages at the park and shouting “crucify him!” with as much gusto as I could muster during Good Friday services. I thrived in dramatic moments and in front of crowds. I also felt deeply connected to my faith and longed to get involved at church. To my chagrin, my parents wanted to leave altar serving to boys discerning the priesthood. “You’ll find your place to serve,” they told me. “You just have to be patient.”

In middle school I found that place when my dad and I started lectoring together. It was such a joy. As a literary enthusiast, I savored the words and tried out inflections for effect. And my dramatic flair was tickled as I told epic stories in front of the congregation. Around this time I began to read The Word Among Us reflections on the daily Mass readings with breakfast, and throughout high school, I learned how to truly dig into the rich characterization, poetry, and symbolism present in scripture. Most importantly, I learned that God had something personal to say to me when he spoke through his Word. It was uncanny how often the Mass readings were relevant to something that had happened that day. I began to discover motifs and allegories not only on the pages of the missal but in my own life.

I always prayed that my experience with the relevance of scripture would overflow into the listeners when I lectored. What a gift, to be the one who spoke the words of love that God was whispering to someone feeling unlovable, to be the mouthpiece of God’s challenge for a sleeping soul, to bring a thrill of joy to someone who felt trapped in sorrow.

“But isn’t all this pretty attention-seeking?” nags the voice in my head. Possibly. But in the proper context, the lector should be somewhat invisible. Just like a great actor “becomes” a completely different person when the character they inhabit takes over, so too should lectors fade into the background of the message and the One they speak for. Certainly, each actor and lector will approach a character or text in a unique way that points to their specific God-given sensibilities and experiences, but the goal is to let those aspects of personality serve the larger picture of what they are trying to portray. Contrary to the self-centered diva, lectoring can be a lesson in the art of self-forgetfulness, self-gift, even death to self.

On the opposite end of the naysayer spectrum lives a little voice that whispers, “How could you stand up in front of people and make a fool of yourself when you might mess up?” The answer, however, is the same as before: serve the message. God can make great things come out of real mess-ups. Just look at what good came out of the Crucifixion. So now, reader, I ask you to consider how God is calling you to enter more deeply into the message of salvation. That may start with five minutes a day looking over the Mass readings and ask God how this applies to your life. It may be something more radical, like volunteering to be a lector at St. Andrew. Just know that Jesus is always calling us deeper, and we have been given a great gift to bear the story of salvation. Take a risk – maybe you are called to be the mouthpiece of God as a lector.

What it Means for Me to be a Lector – Mike Francomb

Since I was a young boy, the call to serve the Church has been strong, and that has included many different roles over the years. When we moved to St. Andrew over 20 years ago, it took me some years to get back into actively serving during the Mass, and since I started being a lector over 10 years ago, what I’ve understood about this ministry has evolved.

In considering the tenants of stewardship as time, talent and treasure, it first provided a way to use my talents of having a loud voice and a love of the written word. Additionally, I was blessed to share the ministry with my daughter and provide us an opportunity to serve the parish together. As a parent, sharing a ministry with my child has been very meaningful.

Through the last few years though, being a lector has come to mean much more. The act of preparing to read on Sundays led me to get back into scripture on a more regular basis. Getting back into scripture led me to gain a deeper understanding of God’s message of love for us. Then when my wife became ill, it became the pillar I leaned on to give me strength every morning. Those days and nights were certainly dark, but the morning was always filled with light. Now, if my day doesn’t start by reading the bible, I’m a little lost that day. God’s word comes alive to me every day.

As a lector on Sundays, bringing God’s word alive is what I am blessed to share in through the liturgy of the Word. These are not simply words written on a piece of paper. These are the divinely inspired Words given to us by a God who loves us.

Thank you, God, and thank you my fellow parishioners for allowing me and inviting me to participate in such a divine mystery.


What It Means to Be in Music Ministry – Chloe Elleman

In the third grade, I joined the St. Andrew Youth Choir. At that time, I had no idea how involved I would become in music ministry. Now I’m a part of the choir, serve as a cantor, and play the flute at Mass.

Throughout the past 11 years, I have met so many wonderful people, learned lots of fun music, and most importantly, I have grown closer to God and the Catholic faith. Music is a special way to pray, and it is a humbling experience to be able to guide others in worship during the Mass through music ministry.

If you have musical talent and are looking for a fun way to become more involved in church, consider joining the music ministry program. We would love to have you!

Chloe Elleman is the talented musician playing the flute at various Masses

What It Means to Me to be in the Choir – Doreen Jackson

In 2001, my husband and I moved to Milford and I began attending Mass at St. Andrew. After telling the new pastor, Fr. Rob Waller, I had sung with the choir at my previous parish he asked me what I was waiting for? Then he escorted me to the choir loft to introduce me to the Music Director, Dovile Krempasky.  I have been a member of the choir at St. Andrew’s ever since.

I  have had many opportunities to share the gift of song through our Music Ministry including singing at Mass on Sunday, Holy Days and other liturgical celebrations.  Adding music to help comfort others during times of loss at funerals is another way this ministry provides service.

St.Augustine is quoted as saying, “He who sings, prays twice.

Expressing praise, giving thanks and asking for God’s mercy have been a way of praying for me since I was a child attending a Catholic School.  As an adult I continued to join others in choirs as I moved to different parishes.

Last year in October, we were fortunate to host a concert at St. Andrew to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fatima.  Our choir was joined by several choirs from other local churches in addition to the choir from the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida.  The event was open to the public, well attended and truly inspirational. As a member of the choir here I felt blest to be able to participate in this event. 

Our relationship with Dr. William Picher, the Music Director for the Basilica continues.  We recently were honored to welcome back the Basilica Choir for a Veteran’s Day Concert.  Nearly 500 people attended, the church was full of Patriotic Music and we were able to thank the many veterans attending for their service.  It was a beautiful and joyful evening.  

Doreen Jackson

So I ask, what are you waiting for?

Maybe the Music Ministry at St. Andrew is another way you are being called to praise and worship God.  It is for me.


Doreen is a Cantor with the St. Andrew Choir at the 9:30 am Mass.

What It Means to Me to be an Usher – Tom Schutte

When I began as an usher I did it because at the mass I attended they were short-handedTom Schutte Picture .JPG
and I was asked to help. I have an immense gratitude for the gentleman that asked for my help. I realized that I enjoyed it. I liked meeting people I worship with and trying to help them enjoy the Mass and getting as much out of it as I do.

Thirty one  years later I still enjoy being an usher as much now as I did when I began.

God bless,
Tom Schutte

What Being an Usher/Greeter Means to Me – Joan Schulte

Shortly after coming to St. Andrew Church five years ago, I decided to become an usher/greeter at Sunday Mass. I thought it would help me feel more a part of the parish community and help me meet my fellow Sunday worshipers. It did all that and more. I really enjoy seeing all the familiar faces every week and making everyone feel welcome with a friendly greeting and a smile. I think all of us in the usher/greeter ministry try to help promote our parish slogan. “The doors of Saint Andrew open wide at the very thought of your coming.”

Joan Schulte
I hope some of you will consider joining our ministry. It doesn’t take much of your time and it rewards you with a stronger sense of belonging to our parish community.

Joan Schulte

What Being an Altar Server Means to Me – Harris Craycraft

Being an Altar Server for St. Andrew has a two-fold effect. First and foremost, it is a great opportunity to help out the St. Andrew community. There are many pieces to the puzzle to make the Mass run smoothly, and I am always grateful to be able to contribute to that through being an Altar Server.

Harris Craycraft

Secondly, it is a two-of-a-kind position on the altar that the congregation does not get to experience. Being closer to the Priest and eventually the Eucharist is another blessing that should not be overlooked. Being an Altar Server means serving the community, the Church, and God at the same time.

 

What It Means to Be an Altar Server – Jesse Hardin

Jesse HardinMy name is Jesse Hardin and I am a junior at Archbishop Moeller High School. I became Catholic in the first grade by choice and it was the greatest decision in my life. In the fourth grade I decided to become an Altar Server. It isn’t a requirement, but for me it was a choice that I love. It is a choice to serve the Lord. I feel more connected to the Lord while serving than any other time. I feel like I am directly helping the Lord while on the Altar. Servers are right there by the priest when the bread and wine are changed to the body and blood and I feel the power of the Lord working as I watch.

When you are serving at Mass or at a special liturgical service, you see things from a different viewpoint than the rest of the congregation. I was serving at the Easter Vigil and all the lights are turned off during the beginning of this service. The Deacon began to slowly raise the Bible at the Gospel. I was behind him with the thurible (a metal censer suspended from chains, in which incense is burned during worship services) and the other server was gradually turning the lights to full power. The lights are gaining in power and the Deacon is slowly raising the Book. The choir starts singing softly and then louder as the lights came up, I felt the power of the Lord working. This moved me enough that I smiled and I was filled with the Spirit.

I also am moved when I am using the thurible. I serve at many funerals and when we are sending the body from the church, the priest incenses the casket. Some priests put the incense right above the head of the casket. This is touching because you can almost see the soul rising to heaven. I love the experience of being a server, as I said, I feel so much closer to God when I do it. I am so glad I became a server. I love Sundays when I get to serve the Lord.