St. Paul’s Sodality aids Richmond parish
The formal definition of a sodality, also known as a “union of prayer” or “confraternity,” is an older designation for a women’s lay ecclesial organization in the Roman Catholic Church.
But Father George E. Zahn, pastor of St. Paul Parish in Richmond, called his parish Sodality “every pastor’s dream.”
“From the time I’ve been here up to the present, the Sodality has continued to serve the parish in many ways,” he explained.
“It is basically spiritual and at the service of the parish, caring and sharing of others, and promoting and building community by doing.”
St. Paul’s Sodality is headed by Doris Bates, president, who joined the organization in 1990. While every woman who is a member of St. Paul’s is considered a member of the organization, the Sodality has 35 active members who gather the first Tuesday of the month for Mass at 11 a.m., followed by the business meeting.
“We have devotions to the Blessed Mother and we will be having a breakfast retreat May 1,” Mrs. Bates told The Catholic Virginian. Father Fred Feusahrens, retired pastor of St. Paul’s, will be the spiritual director.
There are various fundraising efforts throughout the year with 100 percent of the profits going back to the parish.
“We refurbished the church parlor,” Mrs. Bates said, pointing out that the Sodality provided money for high quality furniture, rugs, draperies and a TV set.
Perhaps the largest fundraiser is the bake sale held the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Sodality members prepare homemade cakes and pies, breads, pickles, jams and jellies and other condiments.
“We do very well on that and net about $2,500,” Mrs. Bates said.
In October there is an Italian feast which is held at nearby All Saints Catholic School.
At Christmas Sodality members promote an Angel Tree to collect gifts for the sick and shut-in parishioners of the parish.
“We have a few needy families and we try to provide help for them,” Mrs. Bates said. An example of help might be shopping for groceries and bringing them home to the shut-in.
The latest fundraising effort is selling raffle tickets for a handmade quilt (see photo) made by Joanne Sturm, the 86-year-old mother of the part-time organist of St. Paul’s. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to win the raffle can call the St. Paul’s parish office at 804-329-0473.
Then there is the pancake supper each year on Shrove Tuesday.
“We do pretty well for this small parish,” Mrs. Bates said.
“I’m very grateful to the other officers and members who make our projects successful.”
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