Donor pays it forward

Gloria Palmiere of St. Matthew’s Church in East Syracuse retired after a 42-year career as a dental hygienist. Little did she know her real work was just beginning.

“Father Peter Tassini got me involved in funeral ministry and then Father Sean O’Brien and Deacon Dave Schiltz encouraged me to try Formation for Ministry.” Gloria was a little intimidated at first but her desire to experience a “deeper faith journey” helped her to overcome the challenges of diving in as a later-life student of ministerial foundations.

“My first class was Ignatian Spirituality. I told Father Sean, ‘Whoa, this is a challenge!’” But she stayed with it and came to love her studies, applying what she learned to lay ministry at her parish.

“Gloria didn’t even own a computer,” shares Eileen Ziobrowski, the associate director of Formation for Ministry, commenting on Gloria’s introduction to 21st century formation. But with guidance, support and a strong desire to get to know the Holy Spirit, Gloria persevered through the two-year program and was commissioned as a lay minister in 2020.

Realizing the personal impact the program had on her, she wanted to help others in their quest by supporting with a gift to the HOPE Appeal, to pay it forward for others to follow.

“It helps our community,” says Palmiere, “the poor, the homeless … whoever needs our help. HOPE Appeal helps seminarians, faith formation, Formation for Ministry.”

As Palmiere was finishing her studies, she met incoming student Lisa Scott from the linked Liverpool parishes of Christ the King and Pope John XXIII. Going “back to school” was a new experience for her, too, but she also relied on her faith and the HOPE Appeal program support to make it happen, despite the pandemic.

“Zoom was a challenging experience,” said a determined Scott who added that despite the shutdown and online learning detours she forged ahead. “This is what I wanted to do. Holy Spirit, give me the words! Everything just started to open up after commissioning.”

Scott’s first project—Awaken Your Spirituality—is a four-week parish program that concludes this week, and Lisa’s experience is what Formation for Ministry and supporting the HOPE Appeal is all about.

“This helps people who are called to share, know and live their faith,” adds Ziobrowski. “People who feel called have a way to follow that call.”

You can follow your call to serve in ministry or support others through a HOPE Appeal gift. Visit syracusediocese.org to make it happen.


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