Black History Month, celebrated in February, was an opportune time for the community at St. Mary of the Angels (SMA) in New Orleans to honor five of the parish’s faith-filled elders.
Henry Scott, the oldest parishioner, has celebrated 98 years of graceful living and has attended SMA since 1967. Along with his wife, Deane (now deceased), the couple raised their children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren in the Catholic faith.
Shirley Hawkins recently celebrated her 95th birthday. Although she has been homebound due to health challenges, she remains dedicated to her faith. She has been a member of SMA since her home church, St. Philip the Apostle, closed following Hurricane Katrina.
The parish also recognized three members for their faithfulness, service and many contributions to SMA. Geraldine Aguillard has served the church along with her husband, Calvin (now deceased), for many years. She has been described as a “quiet storm.” Geraldine started the parish Bereavement Committee and spent many years assisting priests and grieving families with their funeral planning. She used her anointed hands to craft many priests’ vestments and huge banners that hang in the sanctuary today, along with a beautiful quilt in the back of church. In addition, she has used the gifts God has given her to serve as a eucharistic minister and lector.
Vera Landry has also served as a eucharistic minister and lector during SMA’s Sunday Masses for many years. In addition, she serves as a coordinator for the Food for Families distribution and senior bingo. She is a champion for the elderly in the SMA community and has used all the gifts God has given her to serve the parish.
Maria B. Johnson is the elder in the Angelic Voices choir. She uses her gifts of an anointed voice and hands to honor and praise the Lord. Maria is a beautiful person inside and out and always answers the call when the church is in need. She brings a sense of comfort to SMA and assists in making it a place for faith to flourish.
The friars and staff at SMA are grateful to have these dedicated parishioners as part of the family.
All photos by Br. Juniper Crouch, OFM