Cindy Novak Remembers Resurrection Parish Ministries

By Henry M. Holden

Cindy Novak, and her family moved to Randolph in 1948, when she was six years old. “Looking back, it was a good time to move since I had the opportunity to make many friends over those first years.” Her hobbies growing up were writing poetry and music.  

“My involvement with Resurrection Parish expanded when I retired in 2002 from driving the medical bus for 12 years. That same year I was invited to join the parish staff.

“When I retired I told Father John Andrew who was pastor at the time and he said, ‘What are you going to do with all your free time?” It was also the time when Rich and Joan Reck were doing the Homebound Ministry. At the time. Rich Reck had decided to study in the Deaconate in the summer of 2003.

Fr. John Andrew said to me, “I understand you have knowledge of the homebound.”

“Father knew I was a licensed Practical Nurse and I had worked in a nursing home. I was a teenager, but nevertheless, Father asked me to be the coordinator of the Sick and Homebound Ministry. My husband was okay with that. 

Cindy had been taking care of her mother-in-law one day a week. “My father-in-law asked the priest at Saint Mary’s church if he could come and give her communion. He said no. So, I asked her if I was a Eucharistic Minister, would you take communion from me? She said yes because they always took it from the priest, but it was early 1983 and times were changing.

“Back when Resurrection first started, in 1978, the deacons were being asked to become Ministers of the Eucharist. Father Martin, founding pastor, was the only one at the time who could give the Eucharist to the parishioners.  Fr. Martin asked certain people if they would consider becoming a Eucharistic Minister. You couldn’t just sign up and say I want to be one. It was a selective process. You had to be invited.

“In early 1983, I became a Eucharistic Minister. Father Martin, the pastor at the time was the one who hired me to be a Minister to the Sick and Homebound. 

In December 1983, we had crosses on the Memorial Wall for those who had passed away, and had a Mass celebrated at the church. Father Martin said to me ‘We have to do something with these crosses. What do we do?’ 

“I said I don’t know but I’ll call around to the different churches and see what they do. I called around and everybody said they did masses on November 2, All Souls Day. Well, we were past that, so, we decided to have a Memorial Mass in December. I wrote letters to all the people who had relatives’ crosses on the wall. We had a Mass and a rollcall, and we gave the crosses back to the families. So, Father said, ‘You might as will be part of this ministry too.” 

“I also had a reason. I had lost my brother in 1974, and I had no bereavement support group and I had nobody to talk to, and my little baby was 3 1/2 weeks old. I was a real mess.

“Our Mission is to reach out to the bereaved of our parish; to assist them in the Funeral Mass or Memorial Mass preparation; and to follow up with calls and visits in the time of grief following the funeral.
The Resurrection Parish Bereavement Support Group meets at 12:30 pm, in the Resource Room on the 2nd Sunday of the month following the 11 AM Mass. In May and October, it is the 3rd Sunday.  
           The Bereavement Ministry is an opportunity to listen, share and pray with those who have lost a loved one”. Powerful and painful, yet helpful in walking the journey of sorrow and grief, many find it supportive in picking up the pieces of their lives and learning to go on. 

           We have walked the road of grief. If you have also and feel called to be there for others on this road, please sign up. Openings are available for training as a co-facilitator, to assist in sunshine ministry and hospitality

              When I came to Resurrection, Susan Maitner had lost her son in an accident in his high school senior year.  She left and went to Saint Elizabeth and started training as a bereavement minister and then she asked me if I would join her. 

“I wanted to get it started here and Susan was the one that help me do that. I trained there and then I took two of the people to train with. We were trying to get groups around the area so anytime there was a meeting I would go. So, I would learn a lot more. We were also trying to get a group started in other churches because some of the groups had a closed meeting. for 10 or 12 weeks and then it’s over. I realized that what happens after you go for 12 weeks, you have no place to go. I decided we would meet once a month for 12 months. Fr. John Andrew was fine with it.

“We did quite a few things here. We had CCD, and had many choir practices in my home. I went to Saint Elizabeth to be up at certified pastoral minister, one night a week for four years. In the first year I had a summer course in psychology. And then we had in the second year a course in sociology.” Cindy earned 33 credits and has a certificate in Pastoral Ministry. 

  And there is the Prayer Shawl Ministry which is a spiritual practice of group prayer before beginning to create shawls that are knitted or crocheted.

“I had heard about the prayer shawl ministry and wanted to try it. 

The format is we begin with a prayer, and then we get busy doing our knitting and crocheting. When one is finished we circle at the end of the meeting, and we take all the prayer shawls that are finished and each of us takes one and each one prays over that shawl and it’s past around until all have been prayed for. 

We also sow little crosses on the shawl, and then we say the Lord’s Prayer and then we go home.” 

“We can make shawls, winter hats, mittens, scarfs, baby blankets, and other articles of warm clothing. We donate them to folks in need of warm winter clothing. 

“I don’t know where I would be without Resurrection Parish. I think it’s very welcoming, it’s very open, and it doesn’t matter what priest we had they are the same as the people: They listen and are easy to say yes to them.

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