Celebrating 50 Years of Support
Boost-A-Month Club member still inspired by Glenmary's mission and ministry
By Margaret Gabriel
In 1948 Richard Yedinak was honeymooning with his bride, Theresa, in North Carolina. When the newlyweds inquired where they could attend Sunday Mass, they were told there were no Catholic churches in the area, but that Mass would be held for a few Catholics in the home of a forest ranger.
The Michigan couple had no idea that there were places in the United States in which a local Catholic community could be contained in a small living room!
About 10 years later, memories of their experience in North Carolina came flooding back to Rich and Theresa when they heard a Glenmary Home Missioner give a talk at their parish in Grand Haven, Mich.
"We heard that the situation hadn't changed much over the years," Rich says. "We thought having a Catholic influence would be important in rural areas where they didn't get much information. And back then, Catholics weren't looked on very highly."
The couple made the choice to become actively involved in spreading the Gospel message in rural areas of the United States by financially supporting Glenmary's mission and ministry.
Today, 50 years later and now a widower, he continues to act on that decision he and Theresa made decades ago. He usually donates through Glenmary's Boost-A-Month Club (BAM).
He is still inspired by Glenmary's ministry of spreading the Catholic faith in areas with little or no Catholic presence and by missioners' outreach to low-income people in its mission areas. Rich also enjoys keeping up with the latest news from the home missions through BAM newsletters and through Glenmary Challenge.
Now living in New Hampshire, Rich attends daily Mass and serves as a Eucharistic minister and as an acolyte at funeral liturgies for his parish. He also works at the local food pantry. "I have to keep busy," he says. "Otherwise I'd fold up by the wayside!"
Glenmary planned giving officer Susan Lambert says she is always impressed with the loyalty and dedication of folks like Rich and their long-term generosity. Such loyalty enables Glenmary's leadership to make far-reaching plans because they know the income needed to support those future plans will be available. Boost-A-Month donors, she says, become like members of the family. "The commitment of BAM donors, whatever their level of giving, is something we can really count on. And when I meet someone like Rich, I know he's in for the long haul. His dedication to Glenmary, and to the missions in general, really impresses me."
And, Susan adds, it is not unusual to find that people who have had difficulty locating churches to attend while they're traveling—especially through the South and Appalachia—can relate to Glenmary's mission of providing a Catholic presence in such areas.
"I've had people tell me that they couldn't find a Catholic church in Georgia when traveling to or from Florida on Interstate 75," Susan says. "But oftentimes they'll find a Glenmary church and get a really good picture of what we're doing."
Susan believes the BAM newsletter is a valuable way to keep people up to date on Glenmary and the activity in the missions. With more information, supporters feel more closely tied to Glenmary's work. "And in the 38 years I've worked at Glenmary," Susan says, "I've seen that ‘BAM-ers,' as they're affectionately called, are more likely to mention Glenmary in their wills. And what a benefit that is!"
Rich, now retired, links his dedication to Glenmary to his enjoyment in helping the missions. "Glenmary is devoted to spreading the Gospel, and we need to support the home missions however we can," he says.
BECOME A 'BAM-er' TODAY. For more information on becoming a monthly donor and joining Glenmary's Boost-A-Month Club, contact Donor Services at 800-935-0975.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2012 Glenmary Challenge.