Prayer, personal stories of addiction shared during Mass in Marlton parish

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Prayer, personal stories of addiction shared during Mass in Marlton parish
Prayer, personal stories of addiction shared during Mass in Marlton parish


Story by Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese | Correspondent

Family members and friends gathered around the table of the Lord Oct. 12 to share a common bond: they, or someone they knew, had been affected by the disease of addiction.

“It was very moving,” Elaine Grillo – whose mother, husband, son, daughter-in-law and nephew are all recovering addicts – said of the evening Mass of “Mercy, Healing and Hope” held in St. Joan of Arc Church, Marlton, for all those dealing with addiction. Grillo has also lost a sister and brother to the disease.

The Mass was the first planned by the parish’s Accompanying One Another ministry, co-chaired by parishioners Grillo and Dotty Garro as well as Deacon Tom Murphy. The ministry aims to provide a safe, confidential forum where those struggling with addiction as well as their friends and family can share their experiences and offer support.

“It’s a beautiful thing that we could be together and share, just by being together,” Deacon Murphy said.

In his homily, Msgr. Richard LaVerghetta, parish pastor, shared his experience with addiction as he described his best friend’s descent into alcoholism.

“I knew I couldn’t fix it,” he recalled, adding that he decided to attend an Al-Anon meeting in an effort to help his friend. He said he was surprised to learn how much he didn’t know about addiction.

Msgr. LaVerghetta reminded those in attendance that the Holy Spirit gives the gift of courage – the courage to ask for help – and encouraged all to seek the face of God in those in, and out, of recovery.

“When you know all the answers, you don’t need anyone,” he said. “Ask. Seek. Knock. That’s what Jesus says. But before you can ask, seek or knock, you take a risk. You need to admit you need help.”

“Let the spirit lead you through that door to a whole new way of life,” he pleaded. “Ask. Seek. Knock. Live.”

The gathering also witnessed the solemn procession of those who had lost loved ones to addiction, placing lit candles on the altar as a memorial. 

After Mass, Chrissie Butz shared an emotional testimony of her own struggles with addiction. Butz, who grew up in the parish, described to the gathering how alcoholism clouded her reality and pushed her away from everyone and everything she loved. She explained how her father committed suicide when she was 19, and how her devout mother never gave up on her ability to beat addiction. 

It was Butz’s mother, Terri, a longtime parishioner, who first went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in an effort to help her daughter. Eventually, Butz herself began going, too. She said taking part in a support group that includes both the afflicted and the affected made her realize that “there’s probably more people affected by the disease than there are people who actually suffer from it.”

Now sober, Butz, 36, is adamant that her faith helped save her from addiction. “I would like to take credit for my sobriety,” she said, “but God did it.”

She urged those suffering from addiction to turn their lives over to God. “Those of us who are shackled to addiction do not have the power of choice.”

“Today, my purpose is to help others,” Butz said. “Finding my purpose has led me to finding my freedom.”

“I am here to show you that hopeless and suffering addicts can prevail,” she added.

After Mass, Chrissie related how hard she was on herself and how she lost her self-respect. She now finds it cathartic and easy to share her story with others.

“I know that every time I get up to the podium, someone will take something away from what I said,” she stated. “It’s not really me speaking. God speaks through me.”

Butz said she hopes sharing her experience can help those who have a loved one suffering from addiction better understand the disease and what the afflicted are going through.

Terri Butz, who said she never lost faith in God or her daughter, compared Butz’s journey through recovery to a hurricane.

“But God brings the sunshine,” Terri Butz said, “and after a hurricane, comes a rainbow.”

For more information on the Mass or the Accompanying One Another ministry, contact Dotty Garro at 856-912-1440 or [email protected].

 

 

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Story by Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese | Correspondent

Family members and friends gathered around the table of the Lord Oct. 12 to share a common bond: they, or someone they knew, had been affected by the disease of addiction.

“It was very moving,” Elaine Grillo – whose mother, husband, son, daughter-in-law and nephew are all recovering addicts – said of the evening Mass of “Mercy, Healing and Hope” held in St. Joan of Arc Church, Marlton, for all those dealing with addiction. Grillo has also lost a sister and brother to the disease.

The Mass was the first planned by the parish’s Accompanying One Another ministry, co-chaired by parishioners Grillo and Dotty Garro as well as Deacon Tom Murphy. The ministry aims to provide a safe, confidential forum where those struggling with addiction as well as their friends and family can share their experiences and offer support.

“It’s a beautiful thing that we could be together and share, just by being together,” Deacon Murphy said.

In his homily, Msgr. Richard LaVerghetta, parish pastor, shared his experience with addiction as he described his best friend’s descent into alcoholism.

“I knew I couldn’t fix it,” he recalled, adding that he decided to attend an Al-Anon meeting in an effort to help his friend. He said he was surprised to learn how much he didn’t know about addiction.

Msgr. LaVerghetta reminded those in attendance that the Holy Spirit gives the gift of courage – the courage to ask for help – and encouraged all to seek the face of God in those in, and out, of recovery.

“When you know all the answers, you don’t need anyone,” he said. “Ask. Seek. Knock. That’s what Jesus says. But before you can ask, seek or knock, you take a risk. You need to admit you need help.”

“Let the spirit lead you through that door to a whole new way of life,” he pleaded. “Ask. Seek. Knock. Live.”

The gathering also witnessed the solemn procession of those who had lost loved ones to addiction, placing lit candles on the altar as a memorial. 

After Mass, Chrissie Butz shared an emotional testimony of her own struggles with addiction. Butz, who grew up in the parish, described to the gathering how alcoholism clouded her reality and pushed her away from everyone and everything she loved. She explained how her father committed suicide when she was 19, and how her devout mother never gave up on her ability to beat addiction. 

It was Butz’s mother, Terri, a longtime parishioner, who first went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in an effort to help her daughter. Eventually, Butz herself began going, too. She said taking part in a support group that includes both the afflicted and the affected made her realize that “there’s probably more people affected by the disease than there are people who actually suffer from it.”

Now sober, Butz, 36, is adamant that her faith helped save her from addiction. “I would like to take credit for my sobriety,” she said, “but God did it.”

She urged those suffering from addiction to turn their lives over to God. “Those of us who are shackled to addiction do not have the power of choice.”

“Today, my purpose is to help others,” Butz said. “Finding my purpose has led me to finding my freedom.”

“I am here to show you that hopeless and suffering addicts can prevail,” she added.

After Mass, Chrissie related how hard she was on herself and how she lost her self-respect. She now finds it cathartic and easy to share her story with others.

“I know that every time I get up to the podium, someone will take something away from what I said,” she stated. “It’s not really me speaking. God speaks through me.”

Butz said she hopes sharing her experience can help those who have a loved one suffering from addiction better understand the disease and what the afflicted are going through.

Terri Butz, who said she never lost faith in God or her daughter, compared Butz’s journey through recovery to a hurricane.

“But God brings the sunshine,” Terri Butz said, “and after a hurricane, comes a rainbow.”

For more information on the Mass or the Accompanying One Another ministry, contact Dotty Garro at 856-912-1440 or [email protected].

 

 

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