Jeanette Poole has served as a reader in St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Brant Beach, for years. Jennifer Mauro photo
Jeanette Poole has served as a reader in St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Brant Beach, for years. Jennifer Mauro photo

For Jeanette and Bob Poole, returning to in-person Mass has been an opportunity to reconnect with the Church and its sacramental graces. But it has also been about the need to give back to their parish community, too.

“It’s like a circle: We get to go to church, our hearts and souls get fed, and then we can share that with others,” Jeanette said. “It’s spirit, community, friendship and learning more about God’s Word.”

The Pooles have been members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Brant Beach, for more than 10 years, a community that has walked with them in good times and serious injuries. For months during the pandemic, they practiced their Catholic faith through viewing livestreamed Mass. But when the church’s doors once again swung open in late June, the Pooles were in the pews and Jeanette was there to resume her duties as a parish reader.

“We missed the community of Church and being there with people you have come love – those who have become part of your family,” Jeanette said.

“The spirit of God that we feel and the spirit within the people when we are in church – the Sign of Peace, even if it’s a nod or an elbow bump – it’s wonderful,” added Bob.

As a reader, Jeanette said she had been missing her routine of preparing for her ministerial duties, which includes practicing her delivery and studying the Scripture so that it “speaks to me even more.”

“When I read, I try to convey the story,” she said. “[In the Bible passages] these are people speaking to us to let us know what God’s thoughts were, what the Holy Spirit was saying. Without inflection, it can be just words.”

“It helps me spiritually to understand the day’s Reading because I can feel it,” she continued, adding that it’s an honor to stand at the ambo.

The Pooles say it is important to help the Church and parish, as they have always felt supported in kind. “Church gives us so much spiritually, that for us, it is important to give back,” Jeanette said.

Added Bob, “Because not everyone is back in-person, we’ve increased our weekly offerings, like many others. If everyone can do something like that, our Church will still stand financially.”