‘Go forth’: Lay ministers commissioned

   “It gives me great pleasure, following the example of Christ, to appoint you and send you out into the towns and villages of our beloved diocese so that others will come to know the Lord’s everlasting love and mercy through your example,” he said in closing.

   Bishop Cunningham and retired Formation for Ministry Director Father Charles Vavonese conferred certificates to each of the commissioned.

   Stephen M. Grausgruber, commissioned for parish service ministry, currently serves as a LifeTeen core member, Eucharistic minister, lector, and usher at his parish, Divine Mercy in Central Square. He said military experience — he currently serves as an Asset Management Supervisor for the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing; his wife retired from the Air Force in 1998 — contributed to his decision to study in the Formation for Ministry program.

   Having lived many places, “wherever we went we always missed our family,” he said, “but we always found our family in our faith…. We’ve been so blessed wherever we went, I felt the need to give back.”

   Susan Spina, of the Church of the Sacred Heart & St. Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa in New York Mills, was recommissioned. She currently serves on the pastoral care committee and as a catechist, teaching fourth grade.

   “I think it’s important to always give back to the Church, because when you give back to the Church you give back to God — and that’s what we’re put on earth for,” she said. “The continued coursework prepares you, and if I have that ability to be able to give back to others and make a difference, then I feel that I’ve done what God wants me to do.”

   Louis A. Alfonsetti, Jr., of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Endicott, was commissioned for liturgical/RCIA ministries. A lector at the parish, he also serves in music and RCIA ministries. Alfonsetti said the program gave him a greater understanding of his religion and brought him closer to scripture, but the most important thing he gained: “Growth in my spirituality,” he said.

   Mary McNeil was commissioned for parish service ministry. She currently serves her parish, St. Margaret in Homer, as chair of the pastoral council, chair of the adult spiritual enrichment committee, and as a lector.

   She pursued Formation for Ministry, “first and foremost, to become closer to God, to grow in my spiritual life, my prayer life, in order to be able to share,” she said.

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