My Journey

Many years ago, I found myself at a place in my life where I wondered, “Where do I go from here?” I was unknown to myself and others around me, so I took a hard look at myself and realized that I had forgotten the most important part of my life: God. I decided to bring Him back in my life, and I will never forget the day I returned to church when Fr. Tom Pheffer extended his hand to mine and said, “Welcome back.” I went from feeling lost to finding myself wanting to live the Word, and I decided there was no better way to live the Word than to become involved with parish activities. What an uplifting experience my faith-filled journey has been.

The first stop along my journey was as a member of the Liturgy Committee, which helped put worship and community in a new focus for me. At the time, we were sharing priests with Adel, and the opportunity to get to know many of the Adel people who were involved in music and liturgy was a special blessing to me. I still see some of these people today and always have a special feeling for them.

My next adventure was the Fall dinner and bazaar during the Fr. Tom, Fr. Aiello, and Fr. Bob years. We spent hours cooking turkeys, peeling 100 lbs. of potatoes, and breaking bread–literally!–all over the hall kitchen to dry for dressing. I met some wonderful new lady friends while volunteering for the fall dinner and I still have the greatest admiration for all the gals who stepped up in the early years to make it a success. We served over 400 dinners one year and patted ourselves on the back for a job well-done, but decided to spread the fun around and asked volunteers to bring potatoes, turkeys, etc., the next year.

My journey continued as I took a turn on the Parish Council for several years, and became a lector and communion minister. I taught 4th grade  Religious Education for two years, and then became an RCIA leader for ten years. Talk about rewarding! I learned more than the students on both occasions. The catechumens in RCIA are encouraged to take part in activities, and it is such a pleasure to give one of the students of RCIA a big hug when I see them volunteering at church, following what is stressed to them about doing their part. I’ve met so many great volunteers and have formed friendships over the years while participating in these volunteer activities.

I retired in 2000 and reduced my church activities while my husband was sick. During this time, I attended a weekly scripture study group led by Sr. Marie. When Sr. Marie left, Mert Nizzi and I kept the study group going, and we still meet every Thursday in the Fr. Romero room after the morning mass. All are welcome to join us.

In 2008, I gathered a group of volunteers for the first annual Have a Heart Luncheon. We’ve had so much fun watching the women in the parish get together to show off their talents in decorating their tables, but next year’s luncheon will be the last hurrah for the original group of volunteers. We are passing the torch to a new group of ladies who will be shadowing us to let the tradition continue.

I’ve participated in Christ Renews His Parish (CHRP) and have only great things to say about it. What a wonderful way to again meet new people, and to share the love of God–not to mention fun and food–for a weekend. Oh my, if you have not taken the time to do this, take it from me, you will never, ever regret it. What a way to meet your fellow parishioners on a great journey.

The list goes on: working funeral dinners, making gravy for the Fall dinner, signing in people for their pictorial directory session… I think you get the idea. I look back and smile, because I started my journey by wanting to get involved in parish activities, and I did it, and met my new family in the process. What more can I ask?

Eloise Hilgenberg

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