On some Saturdays and Sundays, finding a priest to administer Holy Communion during church services isn’t always easy.

Rosella decided there was something she could do about that.

“We were getting Communion occasionally, and sometimes they couldn’t come,” said Rosella, 96, of Oakmont Parkway. “I just got to thinking, maybe if I became a Eucharistic Minister, we wouldn’t have that trouble.”

As a Eucharistic Minister, Rosella is able to provide Communion to those who desire it. She also leads prayers and readings during weekend services.

Another resident, Russ, had been serving the role of Eucharistic Minister for a while. But health issues often prevented him from being able to do that. Also, a priest is not always available each weekend.

A history of helping in the church

Actually, this was something Rosella previously considered. After raising her family of six children in Chicago, she and her husband moved to Arkansas for their retirement. It was during that time she served as a lectern and did other church-related duties.

“They wanted me to become a Eucharistic Minister, but I had so much to do already, I didn’t,” she said. “I was sorry I hadn’t.”

Barb Blash, activities director at Parkway, tried to convince Rosella this would be a good time to explore that.

“I asked her, ‘why don’t you do it’? And what were those famous words, ‘I’m too old’ and this and that. You’re never too old,” Barb said.

So Rosella met with Fr. Brian Cokonougher, the pastor at nearby St. Thecla’s in Clinton Twp., to discuss the steps involved with becoming a Eucharistic Minister. Fr. Brian usually comes at least once a month for Mass; he spent time preparing Rosella for it.

Getting the process underway

“Down in Arkansas, you had to go to a class,” she said. “Here, I talked to him quite a long time, and he agreed that I was devout enough.”

“She was well-informed and was able to tell how much she had done in the church already,” Barb said. A short time later, Rosella was officially a Eucharistic Minister.

“It’s really nice here. They have a regular service they’ve made, just for Communion. We set up the altar in the prayer room,” Rosella said. “Then I also put copies of our program in the pews, and we follow along. It runs about a half hour.”

The amount of attendees varies, and is usually larger when a priest celebrates the Eucharist. When it’s just Rosella, she handles various aspects of a worship service.

“It makes me pretty nervous,” she said. “But they were all very nice, and I gave them a little talk beforehand.”

She is new to Michigan, living in Grosse Pointe Park near two of her sons before moving to Parkway. Being active as a Eucharistic Minister and finding other things to do – she loves an adult coloring program and estimates having 300 colored pencils of her own – aligns with Rosella’s personality.

“Just sitting gets to me and I like to be busy,” she said. “You know, if you have six kids, you’re not going to be sitting around and you’ll be used to being busy. I still do my own work, my cleaning and my ironing. That’s why I’m not in mischief anymore.”