It’s been too long since I’ve done one of my quiet hero bulletins. I’d like to give some recognition to the many volunteers who make our children’s faith formation process such a success. There are many I could point out to you, and I know I will in the future.
I’d like to take this moment to draw your attention to one of our quiet heroes, Elaine Denham. Her goodness and generosity begin at home, where she has raised 5 boys and one girl with Richard, her husband, while also looking after her mother and 97-year-old grandmother, along with her disabled brother, the latter three living in Los Angeles. Many people would consider that sufficient. Elaine has more will to love than that, though, and has cared for our parish children in Little Church. She isn’t quite certain when she began, but we think it was in 2009. For all these years she has been a key motherly presence to our little ones, sharing the faith with them. With endless creativity, she provides simple, child appropriate versions of the Sunday readings, with songs, activities and movement time to keep them eagerly coming back for more.
I remember once, standing at the doorway, observing her teach them their left hand from their right. She had a room full of little ones extend their left hand all the way to the left, and wiggle their fingers, and then their right hand all the way to the right, wiggling all the way. This innocent little gesture segued into a prayerful sign of the cross, no wiggling required. It was a precious moment, believe me wiggling fingers and all.
I’m so conscious of what a difference she makes for parents. One parent, who had dropped off one little toddler in Stay and Play, and an older sibling in Little Church, posted online that Mass that morning felt like a date with her spouse. I love the thought of a date with God too!
One of her gracious words of wisdom was that “Little Church is important because the parents need church for contemplative time. But, not fifty-two weeks a year. Some weeks it is important to take the children to Mass.” She is so right. We want both prayerful parents, and church ready children.
Because Elaine is that way, she made a point of letting us know how important her fellow volunteers, Kathleen Benson and Mary Rogers Vey, were to the success of Little Church from week to week, and how they deserve to be acknowledged. In a world filled with troubling news, it’s a pleasure to take time to remind us of the goodness and selflessness of these, our sisters at Padre Serra!
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to recognizing her for her fidelity and generosity to the Little Church process. As she and her family are moving to Ventura I felt it just to thank her publicly. Please join with me in saluting Elaine for living out her Christian commitment in tangible ways that both love and care for children, and grant respite for their parents. What a gift!
August 27, 2017