Tacoma Catholics Continue to Share Blessings
Since Glenmary’s Adopt-A-Mission Program was established, the typical adoption relationship has involved an established parish assisting a financially challenged Glenmary mission—through mutual prayers, monetary support, and regular communication and encouragement.
But sometimes a group of dedicated Catholics have banded together to support Glenmary missions. For example, a Tacoma, Wash., group adopted two Georgia missions from 1998 until 2012, when the missions were returned to the pastoral care of the Savannah diocese. Then this group promptly volunteered to adopt three more—in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Their connection with Glenmary began in 1997, when Father Chet Artysiewicz gave a mission appeal at Our Lady Queen of Heaven parish in Tacoma. Upon learning about Glenmary’s ministries, parishioner Vivian Kondrat and others became very interested in helping the cause. Vivian tried to generate interest on a parish level for adopting a mission. But when that effort was unsuccessful, she organized a group of friends and family who took on the challenge themselves.
“We felt strongly we needed to do something because Glenmary missions really need the support,” says Patricia Fox, who became the group’s leader when Vivian died in 2005. “We were struck by Father Chet’s description of people’s spiritual and material needs in mission areas of our own country.”
Patricia adds that the group’s ongoing effort is partly a tribute to Vivian. “She was always looking for ways to help other people.”
The current group includes Bob Kondrat (Vivian’s husband), Robert and Patricia Fox, the Kondrats’ daughter Mary Zoppi and husband Ugo, Mary’s brother Robert and wife Kim, Gloria Yarawsky, Sonia Byrd, Frank and Betty Longosky, and Mary and Bernie Kingston.
Father Vic Subb pastored those two Georgia missions from 2000 to 2005—and also leads the three missions that the group is now supporting. “We’re very happy to be reunited with Father Vic and doing our small part,” says Patricia. “The mission members are like our extended family.”
Father Vic clearly remembers the Tacoma group’s generosity during his time in Georgia. “They enabled us to do things that would have been hard to afford otherwise, such as buying religious education books.”
He, associate pastor Father Crispine Adongo and Brother Larry Johnson comprise the pastoral team now serving missions in Lafayette, Tenn. (Macon County), and Scottsville, Ky. (Allen County), as well as one of Glenmary’s newest missions in Celina, Tenn. (Clay County).
Fewer than 1 percent of the three mission counties’ residents are Catholic, and the Lafayette and Celina missions draw some members from nearby counties without Catholic churches. In addition, a substantial percentage of the mission counties’ people live below the national poverty level. If the three missions have one overriding need, says Father Vic, it’s to keep building themselves up as strong faith communities that also reach out to others.
He and Patricia say the missions and the Tacoma group will continue praying for and communicating with each other.
“We are so grateful to our Tacoma friends for helping us serve the people in our counties,” Father Vic says. “It makes a real difference to know they care about and support us.”
And the group is grateful for the opportunity. “God has given us so much,” Patricia says, “that we just want to share our blessings with others.”
This article first appeared in the Spring 2013 Home Mission News newsletter.