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Bishop on hand to celebrate historic chapel, young-in-Spirit parishioners in Pocatello

The following story appeared in the September 9 Idaho Catholic Register.

Bishop Peter Christensen with the newly commissioned members of Holy Spirit Catholic Community’s Paraclete Ministry. The members visit the homebound and offer them the Eucharist. (Courtesy photo/Holy Spirit Catholic Community)

POCATELLO – Bishop Peter Christensen was welcomed to Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Pocatello on Saturday, Aug. 20 to help parishioners celebrate the 125th anniversary of the parish’s historic St. Joseph Chapel.

While there, Bishop Peter commissioned laypersons who provide visitation and Eucharist to the homebound. He was a guest at the annual birthday party that celebrates parishioners who are 80 or older.

The afternoon began with Deacon Scott Pearhill presenting information about the historic St. Joseph Chapel, which has been in continuous use as a Catholic church since 1897.

Ted Peterson, coordinator for the parish’s Paraclete Ministry, which provides visitation and Holy Communion for parishioners who cannot attend Mass, explained how the ministry strives to help the home-bound know that they are known, loved and needed. (Paraclete is a Greek term that means “advocate” or “helper,” and is used in the New Testament as a reference for the Holy Spirit.)

Bishop Peter commissioned those who serve in the Paraclete Ministry and celebrated a Mass in honor of all those who have reached their 80th birthday.

Bishop Peter Christensen at a birthday party with the 80+ Ministry at Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Pocatello. The ministry provides outreach to elderly parishioners with mailings, phone calls and a birthday party. (Courtesy photo/Holy Spirit Catholic Community)

The 80+ Ministry, an outreach effort of the Paraclete Ministry, was developed by parishioner Gloria Steiger in response to a parish goal of better serving the older population.

The birthday party is one aspect of a year-round effort by Steiger and her volunteers to communicate with those 80 years and older at least five times yearly through mailings, phone calls, and the party, which serves as a culminating event for the ministry.

This year’s event was the fifth for Steiger and the 80+ Ministry. Their first party was for those 90 and older. Father Henry Carmona, pastor of the Holy Spirit Catholic Community, was so pleased with the success of that effort that he recommended it be expanded to include those in their 80s as well.

Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Peter were Father Carmona and Father Emil Parafiniuk, parochial vicar at the parish. Deacon Scott Pearhill assisted.

Following the Mass, cake and ice cream were served in the breeze-way between the chapel and the rectory. Pop-up tents provided shade from the heat and fans were distributed to help those in attendance stay cool.

Those who look closely at the top picture of Bishop Peter with the newly-commissioned Paraclete ministers will see him jokingly using a fan to “crown” the person in front of him.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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