Profile of a Disciple
On April 29, Al and Marian Boucher coordinated the Senior Day of Reflection for the Lansing Area Catholic Council on Aging (LACCA). This annual event at St. Francis Retreat Center is a perennial favorite because of the beautiful setting, delicious food and the opportunity to enjoy Father Larry Delaney’s insights and jokes. It had become so popular, the LACCA had to limit the number of attendees. The retreat center just couldn’t hold everyone – even when they used all three dining rooms.
“As they said in Field of Dreams, build it and they will come,” says Pat Whaley. But instead of a baseball field, she is referring to a sacramental preparation class for those with special needs at St. Thomas Aquinas in East Lansing. Pat, along with two classroom helpers, teaches a small class on Sunday afternoons to prepare special needs students for communion. “We have children with autism, William’s syndrome, and cognitive impairments,” says Pat, who encountered children at her church who were not enrolled in catechism because of their special needs.
Jane Esper Vogel believes attention to climate and stewardship of the earth are interchangeable, and also part of her Catholic faith. This belief drew her to Michigan Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), where she is president of the board. The non-profit organization includes many different faith traditions focused on improving sustainability.
Iris Chen, a student at the University of Michigan, wanted her summers to make an impact. She was told summer break should enhance her future career, and she decided she also wanted to enhance the community.
“I heard about Catholic Urban Project [CUP] through a friend of mine,” says Iris. “Our home-front needs evangelization and needs mission work. Ypsilanti is my back yard, so I thought, ‘Why not start here?’”
The director of i.d.9:16 helps to form ‘intentional disciples’
Pete Burak’s story begins with warm memories of baseball, camp, family and school. That is, until the age of 8, when an injury left Pete with the prognosis that he would not be able to throw a ball for some time. After a few weeks of struggling to accept the dramatic shift, Pete found himself on his knees one night, giving it over to Jesus.
Lisa Whiting Dobson recalls the first time she heard that the Diocese of Lansing would produce a weekly television outreach Mass. “I was sitting in the office with a group of other graduate teaching assistants,” the MSU telecommunication instructor recalls. “Dr. Thomas Muth, my thesis advisor, came in and said he needed someone to help him put a Mass on TV.”
The response was not enthusiastic. “Everyone else in the room scattered like cock roaches,” she laughs. “But Dr. Muth was such an important figure in my life, and I just thought, ‘I can do this for him.’”
Shannon Wohlfert’s senior year in high school is busy with the usual things. She’s a member of the varsity volleyball team at Pewamo-Westphalia High School. She also plays French horn in the marching band and coordinates a peer counseling group at school called PLANK. She belongs to the National Honor Society. She participates in 4-H and works part-time at the local Subway sandwich shop. She was even named the high school’s homecoming queen.
It’s a typical teenager’s life, with one notable exception.
“I grew up in a Catholic family. We attended St. Mary Parish in Williamston. After I went to college and married my wife, Linda, we came back to Okemos and have attended St. Martha in Okemos ever since.
“As a young person, I have to be honest, my faith waned. I did not attend Mass very much in high school, and while I was at Michigan State going to church was, to be honest, not high in my priorities. However, when I went to dental school at Ohio State, my wife and I found a church in Columbus that we really liked and it helped me to get back to my faith.”