"Do you think I'm worthy to serve?"
It’s a privilege to serve as a St. Victor Parish volunteer, in the roles of lector, Eucharistic minister and former pastoral council member and treasurer of the Women’s Guild. Giving back is a theme that was modeled for me by my parents, particularly my father, Matthew Grasha.
My Dad was an electrical engineer and World War II veteran, and I grew up watching him serve the St. Philip Church and greater Crafton community. For 50 years he volunteered as an usher at the St. Philip 6:00am Sunday mass and as member of the St. Vincent DePaul and Holy Name Society. After watching him go on St. Vincent DePaul calls and wondering what happened during these calls, when I was in high school, one afternoon he asked me to accompany him. We went to visit a WWII veteran in McKees Rocks. That experience opened my eyes to the needs in our community and gave me a better understanding of how we can all make a difference by our service to others. My father did not like recognition for his service; he said it was his duty to give back because the Lord had bestowed him with many blessings and gifts. However, in 2003 he was honored and received the Manifesting the Kingdom Award from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. My father also volunteered at St. Paul of the Cross on the Southside as a retreat promoter, going on a weekend retreat for over 50 years. His service inspired me to volunteer in my community – spiritually, personally and professionally. Annually I go on a weekend retreat at St. Paul of the Cross with other ladies from our parish, and currently serve as a retreat promoter and Board Member. I’ve served on the Board of the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association, the Human Resources Committee for Pittsburgh Habitat for Humanity and for the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Annually I manage my organization’s annual Day of Caring, and we get out in the community and serve others. Our team has volunteered at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and other worthy social service agencies.
When Fr. Bill Hausen was our pastor, I served only as a lector. One Sunday before the Noon mass, Fr. Bill approached me and said he needed my help as a minister. I responded no, because I was untrained and unprepared. He pressed me and I told him point blank that I was unworthy to be a Eucharistic minister. Fr. Bill simply looked at me and replied, “Do you think I’m worthy to serve?” I was stunned for a minute but heard myself saying yes. He smiled and thanked me and proceeded to give me brief instructions. As I distributed the Eucharist for the very first time, although it was overwhelming, the Lord blessed me with the courage and grace that I desperately needed. Now when I serve as a minister, I strive to see each person as a Child of God - and remember my Dad’s example.
Sincerely, Mary Grasha Houpt