Mary Pommert was celebrated as the Living a Faith that Does Justice Award winner.
EDUCATION, ADVOCACY, SERVICE
A COMMITMENT OF FAITH
If asked to describe our neighbors I imagine that most of us would talk about those near us, members pf our parish, close friends and relatives. Ask Mary Pommert to describe her neighbors and she would talk about the elderly living in a nursing home, lonely and forgotten, or a person in jail, or a young person from a poor and war stricken country who wonders if his dreams of a better life will ever be realized, or a mother who is committed to improving the lives of her children. Mary has a strong commitment to providing a personal and caring response to all her “neighbors”. She also has a commitment to expand that circle of caring by telling her family, friends, and faith community about the needs of others and by offering specific ways that all of us can best help all our neighbors throughout the world.
In recognition to a lifetime of living her faith, Mary is the recipient of Social Action Coordination Commission’s Living A Faith That Does Justice Award. It is an honor richly deserved. Because of her commitment to share with others stories of persons in need and by providing opportunities for everyone to become involved, Hundreds of parishoners have learned about the work for social justice and have been inspired to volunteer their time and talents, helping IHM expand its outreach and service efforts.
Mary and her husband Dave have been members of IHM for forty years. Both have been active and involved in many activities. Dave currently heads the Parish Prison Ministry program. Dave and Mary demonstrate their commitment to others both with direct service work, encouraging others to join them and educating parish members about the pressing social justice issues in our community, country and the world.
Some of Mary’s volunteer activities have included:
Service to Elderly living in nursing homes: Mary’s father, suffering from Parkinson’s spent the last year of his life in a nursing home. While he had the benefit of attention and care from his family Mary recognized that there are far too many persons living in nursing homes who are forgotten and lonely. As a way of honoring her father and those who provided loving care to him, she and fellow parishioner Jo Ann Best developed a volunteer program offering visits and Communion and Rosary Services to the residents.
The Cultural Center of Batahola Norte in Managua, Nicaragua: In 2000 our parish formally established a twinning relationship with the Cultural Center. Mary has played a pivotal role in this significant parish commitment.
For ten years Mary, her sister, Melissa Auvil and their husbands Dave and Buzz co-chaired the Annual Garage sale, benefiting the center. In addition to raising much needed funds, this program involved the volunteer effort of 100 volunteers each year, providing them with information about the center and demonstrating the importance of their involvement.
Another important component of the Cultural Center is Project Education for Batahola. This is a student sponsorship program offers educational opportunities, helping students to remain in school longer. This increases the probability of the students realizing their dreams of escaping poverty and achieving a better life. In the 15 years of this program $7000,000 has been raised benefiting 3,000 students.
An addition benefit of this program and point to pride for Mary is the fact that her sisters Melissa and Barb and their husbands have established similar programs in Kabingo, Uganda as part of their Hope for Kabingo Mission and a program in Kassungo, Uganda.
Mary also served as the editor of The Friends of Batahola and om the FOB communications committee.
Hope for Kabingo: Mary’s interest and commitment doesn’t remain in The Western Hemisphere but includes the entire world. She and her husband are active participants in Hope for Kabingo, a project of the Comboni Missionaries. This project, established by Melissa and Buzz Auvril provides an array of services focusing on medical care, developing safe water, operating a school and operating a women led cooperative business. Mary and Dave visit this center annually.
All of these activities point to an integration of a faith commitment, that leads to direct service to one’s neighbor, and a recognition that in today’s world our neighbor includes everyone. This in turn leads to a commitment to share the Good News of our faith by involving others through social justice education and advocacy.
Congratulations and thanks to Mary Pommert, recipient of the Living A Faith That Does Justice Award.