By Kevin Cummins
Special to the Intermountain Catholic
LAYTON — The parishioners of St. Rose of Lima dedicated Sept. 30 to community support through a blood drive and a ministries fair. Ministry leaders set up display tables in the parish social center and rotunda and invited parishioners to learn about the ministries and to find new opportunities to serve. The Red Cross Blood Service set up in the back of the social center with the goal of collecting at least a dozen units of whole blood.
The event began when the parish Health and Wellness committee decided to organize a blood drive as a way to express Christ’s love to the community. (The United States Council of Catholic Bishops classifies blood donation as a Corporal Work of Mercy.) At the same time, the committee wanted to use the opportunity to introduce their ministry to the parish.
“Tying these events together seemed to be a great way to introduce the parish to our ministry,” said Kit Cummings, the organizer and chair of the committee. “We wanted to find out what the community needed and to show them how we could help.”
Officials from the Red Cross asked to have the drive on a Saturday, and the date was set for the end of September.
As word of the drive spread, other parish ministries wanted the opportunity to participate, too. Over time, the event grew to include ministries from across the parish. Groups as diverse as the hospitality ministry, Fish and Loaves (food bank), the jail ministry, the Spanish-speaking lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the music ministry and the Sewing Angels (among many others) sent representatives. In the end, 20 ministry groups had representatives on hand to answer questions from parishioners who visited their tables. While the fair was going on, the St. Rose Rosary Makes made rosaries.
The three-member Red Cross team stayed busy all day, collecting 22 units of blood. The generosity of the donors at St. Rose nearly doubled the expected donation.
Local food vendors provided visitors the opportunity to purchase a meal or a treat while they visited the fair.
This was the first time that the parish has hosted such an event, but it is not expected to be the last. The Red Cross has indicated their willingness to return, and discussions are underway about hosting a bigger event on a Sunday in the fall of 2018.
Kevin Cummins is a St. Rose of Lima parishioner.