Thirty-one men and women in the six-county Diocese of Youngstown were commissioned as lay Leaders of Prayer on Nov. 20 during evening prayer at the Our Lady of the Lakes Parish at St. James Church in North Jackson. Monsignor Robert Siffrin, vicar general of the diocese, presided.
Leaders of Prayer are lay people commissioned to lead the faithful in acts of worship, which in the past were most often led by the ordained clergy, but also may be led by lay people. Among these services are morning and evening prayer, liturgy of the word with or without the distribution of Holy Communion, devotions, the vigil service and rite of committal from the Order of Christian Funerals, and in an emergency, Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest.
Leaders of Prayer are commissioned not only to lead currently scheduled acts of worship in the parish in the absence of a priest but also to expand the opportunities for communal prayer. They are commissioned for a period of three years for service in their parish under the direction of the pastor.
People commissioned in the Mahoning Valley were:
Mary Bass, Robert Frank, Chris Huffman, Louis Markovich Jr., Patricia Schaff, Dolores Stryzinski and Raymond Stryzinski, all at St. Paul Parish in Salem.
Alvera Bell at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers; Judith Hernandez, Carmelo Lebron and Nicholas Opencar, all at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell; Mark Izzo and John Rose at Our Lady of Mount Carmel/St. Anthony Parish in Youngstown; Katherine Garchar at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Youngstown; Carolyn Beil at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Boardman; and Stephen DeCapua, Mary Lou Mack and Alan Ricks, all at St. Michael Parish, Canfield.
Mark Stempak at Blessed John Paul II Parish in Warren; Theresa Dolan-Dixon at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren; and Woody Pealer at St. William Parish in Champion.
The seven-week series was conducted by the Rev. Michael D. Balash, director of the diocesan Office of Worship; Daniel Laginya, director of music at St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown; and Fran Amer, St. Michael Parish, Canfield.