Involved in many ways, throughout the year

Involved in many ways, throughout the year

Photo by James A. McBride

stewardship-webJohn and Carol Polaha stand with Father Patsy Amabile, former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Vineland, where they have been involved in pro-life and family ministry for three decades. The couple feels their work will be broadened and enhanced by the merger with St. Isidore Parish.

VINELAND — John and Carol Polaha of Sacred Heart Parish call the “thoughtful and dedicated” members of their Pro-Life/Family Life Ministry the reason why the committee is successful in its work and philosophy.

“Everybody helps in keeping stewardship active in the parish,” said Carol Polaha, who with her husband, John, have dedicated their lives to stewardship at Sacred Heart for some 30 years.

Over the years they’ve helped various organizations and joined activities in the parish through Family Life.

“We sell carnations on Mother’s Day,” said Carol, “and contributed to Birth Right. In essence we use our Pro-Life activities to raise funds for others.”

She said they held yard sales and now hold baby showers for the needy, among other activities.

“Things have changed over the years,” John noted. “We now try to have activities for all ages. One member of the group is in charge of senior trips, breakfasts, and bingo…. Another celebrates children.”

John and Carol pointed out various holidays and events are celebrated with an attempt by the committee to put a religious significance to each. For instance, there is a Mass at Halloween where children come dressed in costumes. Also, St. Nicholas is celebrated during a Christmas Mass, and there’s even a breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

The Pro-Life group holds a coffee ministry after each Mass once a month and they work with the pastor to schedule them when stewardship can be promoted.

Their four daughters and three sons (they now have 16 grandchildren) occasionally would help their parents while growing up and they benefited from the experience. Today, they said, the object is to unite kids and seniors.

“For nine years we ministered to the youth group on a part-time basis but that got tougher over the years because kids today have so much to occupy their time,” said Carol. “What you really need and are looking forward to in the merger is someone full-time to minister to the youths.”

The Polahas feel their stewardship will be broadened and enhanced by the merger with St. Isidore Parish. “We are encouraged by this,” said Carol. “Only good can come from this merger. There is a lot of talent and activities at St. Isidore that can help enhance the Pro-Life Ministry. We just know that St. Isidore will get involved with Family Life.”

Besides their involvement with Family Life, John and Carol are also involved with parish life in other ways. John has been a Eucharistic Minister for nearly 20 years while Carol has been a lector for 15. She’s also been a Pre-Cana teacher for 23 years.

Over the years Carol was a teacher at Sacred Heart School and later at St. Francis of Assisi School. John was the superintendent of recreation for Vineland for 23 years until his retirement in 2008.

A few years ago, Carol was asked to speak at a Mass at Sacred Heart about her stewardship. Out of the three parts — time, talent, and treasure — she spoke of time and how she and her husband devoted themselves to their mission and how the parish welcomed them.

Father Patsy Amabile, former pastor of Sacred Heart, called the Polahas “a wonderful couple who volunteer all the time. They are spiritual and they live for the church.”

He said he is very supportive of them and their ideas “and I encourage them in all their endeavors,” Father Amabile added.

For more information on stewardship contact Russell Davis, Office of Stewardship, at 856-583-6102.

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