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“Thank heaven for little girls”

(7/17) For many years a popular television show featured a comedy skit with the “church ladies.” While they were comical and amusing, they surely did not represent the unselfish church ladies or, as I would prefer to call them, the “Ladies of the Church” from the combined parishes of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Thurmont and St. Anthony’s in Emmitsburg. Through the generosity of caring, sharing and hard work, these volunteers, a group of approximately 30 ladies, complete a multitude of functions for the 1,800 members of the parishes as well as the committees.

This is a very active group of women, who are responsible for cleaning the churches, preparing and serving food for bereavement luncheons, receptions for the churches for confirmation, celebrations for special occasions and special services.

One of the members, Terry Allen, is responsible for the quarterly blood drives held at Mt. Carmel. Helen Reaver undertakes the huge task of coordinating and collecting donations for the church yard sales twice a year, in addition to the religious education and vacation Bible school which is coordinated and conducted through the efforts of several volunteers twice a year. Shirley Solomon organizes religious retreats for the parishes. Providing meals for the Frederick Rescue Mission is one of the special projects for the churches. Susan Robinson graciously spearheads this project with the help of Betty Burdick and Pat Pasquariello. These ladies love to cook and the more, the better. They are excellent chefs and it is reflected in the tasty food they prepare. Recently an emergency request from the rescue mission was received for 150 box lunches. Susan rallied the group to come together to provide food, beverages and paper products. The response and generosity of donations was overwhelming and the volunteers prepared sandwiches and packed the 150 lunches and had them ready for distribution within one hour.

It is not all work for the Ladies of the Church; there is also a group known as the Tea Bags. This is a very enjoyable event where the gals get together and enjoy a “tea” and lots of good conversation. Another group that comes together is the MOMS. This is for stay-at-home moms and their kids. This gives them the opportunity to be with other ladies and the children to enjoy a play day. There also is a bring-your-own-craft group that enjoys fellowship while working on a craft of their own. Mary Holloman, who loves to garden, takes care of planting and nurturing the flowers at Mt. Carmel each spring for all the members to enjoy.
The four major staff people of the parishes are also women who take care of the day-to-day tasks of running the business end of the churches.

This is a wonderful group of individuals who have committed themselves to their church as well as to the community. They enjoy being together at church activities as well as developing and enjoying friendships beyond the church functions.

I am sure there are other churches who have dedicated volunteers as well, but this is a group I know first hand and am glad to be part of. As the song goes, “Thank heaven for little girls.” Let’s thank heaven that these little girls have grown and matured into wonderful women or Ladies of the Church for without them what would we do.

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