If you compiled a list of our ministries at St. Joseph’s, Mario and Carolyn Lombardi could probably check off many in which they’ve been involved during their 46 years as parishioners here. From Parent Club and fish frys to Bingo, to Marriage Encounter, the Engaged Couples Ministry, and our Parish School of Religion, they have certainly done a lot. They also helped start the Confirmation program and were involved with the Parish Renewal program.
Mario and Carolyn both served as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at St. Joseph’s for more than 40 years. They brought the Eucharist to the homebound, nursing homes, and the Lorain Community Hospital for many years. Carolyn continues as an Extraordinary Minister for Mass.
“It’s such a blessing to distribute the Eucharist,” she says. “I especially loved being able to bring it to those who couldn’t attend Mass.”
In addition, Mario and Carolyn had been Parish Council members, with Carolyn serving as president for several years. Mario was also part of the Planning Commission and is most proud of working to make the cemetery larger during that time.
“We ended up doubling the size of the cemetery,” he says. “And the day it opened, it was all paid off.”
Mario also worked with the City of Amherst in order for the street behind the parish to be named Fr. Lawrence N. Martello Drive.
“He was very touched that the parish did that for him,” Carolyn says.
Holiday decorating at St. Joseph’s is another favorite activity for Carolyn. She feels this has been a fun way to get to know people and spend time with other parishioners.
One of the Lombardis’ more recent endeavors is joining the Resurrection Choir, which sings at Funeral Masses. It’s been a great ministry that they enjoy doing together.
“Most people don’t expect it for their loved one,” Mario says. “It’s very rewarding.”
For about 20 years, Carolyn and a group of women met with Sister Jean Glorioso for prayer. This group of women was and still is very special to Carolyn. They continue to get together once a month even though Sister Jean has passed away.
As cradle Catholics, Carolyn and Mario have always made it a priority to stay involved — even when they were busy raising four children. St. Joseph’s has become home.
“It is a good group here,” Mario says. “We have a lot of friends. People are very open and talk to each other. They make you feel at home.”
Having been actively involved for all these years, Mario and Carolyn would give the same advice to others — get involved, and you won’t regret giving time to the parish, even if you are busy.
“When you get involved, whether you are working at a fish fry or Bingo, you get to know people,” Carolyn says. “That’s where you forge relationships. You always get more out of it than you put in.”
In their free time, the couple enjoys traveling and visiting their grandchildren who live throughout the United States.