Touching the lives of many - Catholic Courier

Touching the lives of many

This time of year can be bittersweet, as it’s typically marked by folks in the Diocese of Rochester opting for retirement after having logged long and faithful ministerial tenures. We’re sorry to see them go, yet deeply appreciative of the imprints they’ve left on us.

As it so happens, this year I know of three people fitting that category who also happen to be good friends of mine. All have excelled for many years in their respective positions: Marie Claus, as youth minister at Church of the Assumption, Fairport; Margaret Gray, faith-formation coordinator, St. Charles Borromeo, Greece (my home parish); and Sue Versluys, youth minister, St. Pius Tenth, Chili, and former diocesan coordinator of youth ministry.

Each has been there for me over the years in ways that transcend their job responsibilities. They’ve helped guide me through personal ups and downs, making me feel I could confide in them about pretty much anything. That level of trust doesn’t happen with just anyone.

I can’t begin to imagine how many other folks have been positively influenced by Marie, Margaret and Sue — particularly young Catholics who are striving to find their ways in their faith and personal lives.

These wonderful ladies reflect the qualities of many great ministers — priests, deacons, women religious, parish staff members, educators — who bring others closer to God. Such people rarely consider their job simply a job. Rather, they pour their entire beings into their work, selflessly dipping into vast personal reservoirs of wisdom, spirituality and love.

Doing so can be exhausting at times, but the rewards are a strong sense that you’re carrying out the Lord’s work — not to mention enjoying close connections with the people you serve.

Thank God I’ve had the privilege of connecting with Marie, Margaret and Sue.


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