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SOMERVILLE -- For the past two decades, Gregory Williams has sought to deepen his faith, not just for himself, but in service to others.
In 1990, Williams was among the first lay people to participate in the Parish Ministry Formation program of the Archdiocese of Boston. Taking courses related to the care of the sick, Williams went on to take additional courses on the history of the Church, as well as the sacraments.
“I just liked it more and more,” Williams explained from his Medford home. “Each time I received a better understanding of my faith. After doing the studies, I got a much better appreciation of the sacraments.”
Boosted by his faith, Williams began to look for opportunities to serve others both at St. Clement Parish and in the wider community.
At St. Clement’s, he and his wife, Joan, became very involved -- he as an extraordinary minister of Communion and she as a lector. In addition, he joined the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. He continues to be active in the society today. He also has been a confirmation teacher -- teaching a monthly class of close to 50 students -- for several years.
Building on the education he received in the care of the sick, Williams also began volunteering at Massachusetts General Hospital. For 10 years, Williams distributed Communion at the hospital, and said he “was fortunate enough” to participate in a series of courses at the Covenant Health Systems on the human spirit and the aged.
“I just saw how very helpful it was that I could use this information to help others get close to Christ,” he said.
Williams, 75, grew up in Trinidad, part of a very religious family. He first traveled to the United States in 1964, for the World’s Fair.
“I came up for that and after I saw what life was like here, I never wanted to go back,” he recalled. Williams met his wife -- also a native of Trinidad -- in New York and the two were wed in 1971. Five years later, the couple moved to Medford, where they have resided ever since. They raised two children and have two grandchildren.
Looking back on his life, Williams noted that his faith has always been very important to him.
“Faith is a supernatural gift from God,” he said, quoting the Baltimore Catechism. “To me, if you have faith, you have hope, and that is something you can build your life on.”
“Faith, as far as I am concerned, is something inside you that gets built on. It is the certainty that whatever you hope for, in faith, you can receive,” continued Williams.
“To me there’s nothing better than that,” he said.