John and Carole McElduff Pilot photo/ Courtesy the McElduffs
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NEWTON -- Carole McElduff feels there is just something unique about Our Lady Help of Christians.
“Going to church at Our Lady’s, you feel it -- there’s something electric in the air,” she said. “People are really excited to be there.”
McElduff believes that this is part of the reason why her family has become so involved in their parish.
Carole, 43, is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion who brings Communion to patients at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. She is also a religious education teacher as well as a member of the parish pastoral council.
Two of her four children, 12-year-old twins, are currently altar servers. The other children, still too young to be altar servers, are “eagerly awaiting their turn,” she said.
“They love altar serving,” she said. “I think my son would do it every Sunday if he could,” added Carole.
Her husband, John McElduff, 46, is a self-described “behind-the-scenes kind of guy,” often helping out at parish events in whatever capacity is needed.
“I’m a tables and chairs kind of guy,” he added with a hint of humor.
“For us, our faith is not just about the priest on the altar saying Mass, it’s about the entire parish being involved,” Carole said.
“My faith gives me a really good structure upon which to build the rest of my life,” Carole said.
John added, “For me, it’s really a humanizing kind of thing. I tend to think of things in concrete terms, and the Church brings me back down to earth and helps me to seek refuge in God.”
Carole and John McElduff were both raised in upstate New York where their families belonged to the same parish, St. John’s in Beacon, N.Y.
After marrying, the couple moved to Newton 21 years ago, and have been parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians for the past 15 years.
“There are so many people who are involved in our parish, especially behind the scenes,” John noted.
Carole added that parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians are extremely generous -- supporting Trinity Catholic High School’s “alternative spring break” in which students travel to participate in a work camp and build and renovate homes for underprivileged families.
Involving children in their faith is important for their pastor, Father John Sassani, said Carole.
“He’s trying to get kids involved in their faith,” she said, often teaching religious education classes himself.
“He’s been wonderful to work with,” she said.
According to Carole, Father Sassani has “added a deepened spirituality to the parish,” through the ARISE program, which was begun this past year.
“Attending the ARISE program has been a really positive thing,” she said.
Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Newton
Year established -- 1878
Pastor -- Father John Sassani
Parochial Vicar -- Msgr. Dennis Sheehan
In residence -- Father Arthur Coyle
Deacon -- Bill Koffel
Pastoral Associate -- Tom Leahy
Religious Education Director -- Rosemary Seibold
Youth Minister -- Kara O’Malley
Music Director -- Kathy D’Agostino