Profile of an evangelist

Your Faith
By Mary Kay McPartlin
January, 2014

Why Lillah is a super volunteer

Lillah Olson’s faith is strengthened by her activity at the Church of the Resurrection in Lansing, and her parish is strengthened by her faith. She believes the more she gives of herself through active participation, the more her faith increases. The mutually enriching relationship begins with Mass.

“For me, daily Mass and Holy Communion is a top priority,” says Lillah. “I am so grateful to our pastor Father Steve Mattson and parochial vicar Father Mark Rutherford.”

Before daily Mass, Lillah says the rosary with her parish family. “Every day I am there praying the rosary led by Jim Wohlscheid. It’s always a thrill for me to see the men leading the prayers,” says Lillah. “I love to give moral support in praying the rosary.”

There are opportunities every day at Resurrection for Lillah to be prayerful. She is a joyful supporter of everything the parish has to offer, both through participation and by sharing the possibilities with other parishioners and area Catholics.

“They have so many special opportunities for prayer at Resurrection,” says Lillah. A few of her beloved activities include holy hours, healing services, and Eucharistic Adoration. “All of these different prayer services are very powerful,” Lillah says. “That’s the best way I can serve Resurrection Parish.”

Some of Lillah’s prayerful activities occur outside the parish. On Nov. 8 and 9, Lillah and 65 women from Resurrection went on retreat to St. Francis Retreat House in Dewitt led by Father Larry Delaney. “That certainly was a powerful prayer service,” she says. Ongoing adult education programs are also very important to Lillah. Recently, she has been attending a series of talks on Tuesday evenings about the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “It’s a powerful revelation of our Catholic faith,” says Lillah.

Lillah’s faith is enriched by the music at Resurrection, while her participation in the choir directed by David Stattelman enriches the parish as she lifts her voice in song. “Resurrection has a long history of fine music,” Lillah says. “That is a wonderful opportunity.”

The parish’s St. Joseph the Worker Guild, led by Sandi Walczak, helps care for the church and the rectory. Lillah happily works with other men and women of the parish to clean and assist with maintenance of the parish. “That I enjoy doing,” she says. “I am very happy and proud to be caring for the church.”

“It’s all of us working together there to make our Lord’s house even more beautiful,” Lillah says. “It’s all volunteer.”

One of the Guild’s regular activities stands out in Lillah’s mind as being especially faith-filled. Every week, candles that have been burning for seven days at the altars must be replaced. Lillah and the other Guild workers go through and remove all the burned-down candles to keep the lights at each altar bright and strong. “We put in new whole holy candles,” says Lillah. “We are just automatically praying as we go along.”

Lillah believes the more time she puts into service, the more faith is created within her to share. The strengthening of her faith is not necessarily something Lillah is even conscious of most of the time. “You don’t even stop to think about it,” she says. “Opportunities to serve are gifts in themselves.”

She helps promote activities at the parish such as the recent healing Mass and the solemn High Mass celebrated by Father Jeffrey Robideau, chaplain of Blessed John XXIII, with special guest the Detroit Assumption Grotto Choir led by Father Eduard Perrone. “I’ve been writing many letters and making many phone calls to pack that cathedral for the solemn High Mass,” says Lillah.

Resurrection School also has a special place in Lillah’s heart, and only partly because she taught in the elementary grades before her retirement. She enjoys helping with activities and fundraisers whenever she can and is inspired by the strength of the education and the dedication of the students and their parents. Describing the way the parish teenagers participate in the teen Masses, Lillah says, “They just have an unbelievable spirit.”

Living in her retirement years, Lillah is able to take advantage of many different ways to strengthen her faith. Being part of a vibrant community helps her stay active and healthy and happy. Having the time to immerse herself in her parish is a joyful delight every day. In the process of sharing herself and her joyful Catholic faith, Lillah is strengthened to live a true life of faith in Christ.