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Ministry doesn’t stop with retirement

Catholic seniors at MorningStar create vibrant worship community

Deacon Jack Pelowitz at MorningStar community.

Deacon Jack Pelowitz, retired, distributes Holy Communion to a Catholic resident of MorningStar Senior Living.

By Emily Woodham

Assistant Editor

When Deacon Jack and Sherrie Pelowitz moved into MorningStar Senior Living in Boise, they thought they were done with ministry. But soon after they arrived in September last year, their expectations were upended.

“We came to MorningStar because we had heard it had a good Catholic group here,” Sherrie Pelowitz said. Pat Hunt, a lifelong Catholic who moved to MorningStar in 2015, started the “Catholics Being Catholic” group a year after she arrived. The group was based on a small faith community model at Holy Apostles Parish in Meridian.

Then, in 2021, Father Raul Covarrubius moved into MorningStar. He offered Mass, Confession and Anointing of the Sick to Catholic residents. “Our group really took off after Father Raul joined us,” Hunt said. “It made such a difference to have Mass here in the facility.”

Hunt needed to pass the baton

of leadership because of medical concerns, just as Deacon Jack and Sherrie Pelowtiz moved in. “The timing was perfect,” Hunt said.

“Pat had it so organized that it was reasonably easy for me to take over,” Sherrie Pelowitz said. Hunt, who had worked in public affairs before retiring, had divided the group’s activities among different leaders, like the division of ministries in a parish. “Catholics Being Catholic” includes a rosary group, an intercessory prayer group, lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for Mass, and a group that visits bedbound people.

“Bishop Peter was very impressed with how well organized we are,” Sherrie Pelowitz said. Before taking over the administration of “Catholics Being Catholic,” she had not taken any leadership roles. “Although I am a deacon’s wife, I was happy to stay more in the background. It’s been such a new experience for me to lead this, and Pat made it so easy. Everyone knows what to do and is happy to do his or her job.”

Since coming to MorningStar, Deacon Jack Pelowitz has begun serving at the altar again, a ministry he had to stop doing about ten years ago because of his arthritis. “I can function again as a deacon,” Pelowitz said. “I feel so blessed by this community. I can be at the altar; I can give homilies again.”

Monsignor Andy Schumacher joined MorningStar earlier this year and concelebrates the Mass with Father Covarrubius. “We have grown in number so much,” Sherrie Pelowitz said. “We have about 35 to 40 people who attend each Mass, but at the last Mass, we had about 43. I could barely get through the door, which is a good problem to have!”

Because of health issues, Deacon Pelowitz and the priests sit during the celebration of Mass, and Communion ministers take the Eucharist to the assembly members in their seats, rather than have them form a line for Communion.

Those who cannot attend Mass receive Eucharist in their rooms. The Diocese of Boise provides what is needed to celebrate the liturgy. Vessels and linens are stored at the center, but the community does not yet have a tabernacle for reserving consecrated hosts.

“Maybe one day we’ll build a chapel with a tabernacle here,” Sherrie Pelowitz said.

Living in a diverse religious community at MorningStar is something the Pelowitzes and Hunt enjoy. One of Deacon Jack’s favorite things is having conversations about faith and the Catholic Church with non-Catholic residents.

In November last year, Deacon Rick and Bea Bonney moved to MorningStar. Deacon Rick died last month, and Bea Bonney has appreciated the outpouring of support from the Catholic group and non-Catholic residents. “The community here is just wonderful,” Bea Bonney said.

As Holy Week approaches, “Catholics Being Catholic” looks forward to their first Stations of the Cross service on Good Friday. Because Deacon Pelowitz and Monsignor Schumacher are assisting Father Covarubbius, they will also celebrate the Triduum for the first time.

For information about starting a Catholic community in a senior living facility, email Sherrie Pelowitz at

Deacon Jack Pelowitz serves at the altar during Mass with Father Raul Covarrubius and Monsignor Andy Schumacher. The retired clergy live and serve at MorningStar Senior Living in Boise.

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