Loading
Sages of St. Mary's celebrate 10 years at Delaware parish
By Elissa Serrao

.- In July 1999, when Tony Cecere was approached by then-pastor Father Roy Pollard to start a group for seniors at St. Mary of the Assumption, in Wilmington, Delaware, Cecere wasn’t sure how the idea would materialize. A decade later, however, it has far-exceeded his expectations. “You go to church and as you leave you say 'hi' and 'bye,' but we wanted to give seniors the chance to really socialize,” said Cecere, who then served as the parish's director of social ministry. “I thought maybe we’d have some soup and sandwiches, work on some crafts, watch some TV. But it really didn’t happen that way at all.”

That October, Cecere, along with a committee of six, organized a luncheon for 42 senior parishioners. The group then decided to convene for monthly luncheons and “from there we just multiplied,” said Shirlee Steenkamer, now the group’s co-chair along with Phil Donohoe. “We knew we didn’t want to just stay around and play cards and bingo.”

On Oct. 7, the senior group, known as the Sages of St. Mary’s (the name “sages” means “old and wise”) celebrated a decade of food, fellowship and service with a special Mass and catered luncheon. The pastor, Father Charles Dillingham, was the chief celebrant of the Mass, which was concelebrated by three other priests. Father Dillingham called the Sages, which now has more than 300 members, “a shining jewel of faithfulness” for the parish.

The Sages committed to meet monthly in the parish hall for a luncheon. Though Father Pollard told the Sages the parish could allocate funds to support the group if necessary, the group opted to completely self-support using money from non-mandatory donations to purchase food.

Lunches ranged from stews and pasta dishes to turkey with all the trimmings, which, to this day are all prepared by Cecere.

In addition to sharing a meal, the Sages enjoy postlunch entertainment, whether it’s a performance by singing jazz duo Cloud 9, or a speaker addressing a health-related topic for seniors.

“I just feel like I can identify with a lot of these people,” said Michael Alvares, 66, of Wilmington, who has been a Sage for about five years. “I would see them at daily Mass before joining but now it’s more than that.”

Travel is an integral part of the group — they travel somewhere at least once a month, sometimes filling up to two busloads.

Destinations range from one-day visits to Lancaster, Pa., to a four-night stay in Nova Scotia, to several mystery trips per year — “no one ever knows where we’re going until we get there,” Steenkamer said.

Annual retreats are also hosted at the Jesus House in Wilmington.

Equally vital to the camaraderie provided by having a group like this is their desire to give back to the community. Over the past 10 years, the Sages have donated food, money and other basic-need items like clothes and diapers to charities, including the West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington.

Frank Fountain, 67, of Hockessin, joined the Sages four years ago when he retired from his job at Hewlett Packard. “The fellowship keeps me here, this great group of people.”

Printed with permission from The Dialog, newspaper for the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: