In Your Midst


July 2005

    Gerald Macheso, our assistant sacristan, has literally “grown up” since he joined the Cathedral staff in 2000. Gerald was born in a small village in Malawi in Central Africa, the sixth of eight boys. His father, Stephen, is a retired primary school teacher, while his mother, Donata, stayed at home to take care of her large family.

Gerald Macheso is literally a "poster boy" for Genentech Corporation in San Francisco, where he currently appears larger than life in a poster on company headquarters.

    Gerald was born with a growth hormone deficiency, a condition for which no treatment is available in Malawi. It was thanks to the help of some generous friends that Gerald was able to come the United States to undergo treatment at Children’s Hospital. Gerald was sixteen and attending minor seminary when his rector introduced him to Linda Haptonstall of Seattle. Linda had long been involved in social outreach and detention ministry. She was excited to meet Gerald, his parents and seven brothers. She offered to find out what could be done for him at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

    Gerald came to Seattle in 1998 and Linda became his friend, mentor, advocate and opened her home to him while he was going through treatment at Children’s. Gerald finished his junior and senior years at Bishop Blanchet High School. When he started at Seattle University in the fall of 2000, Gerald left Linda’s home and moved on campus.

    He joined the Cathedral staff shortly after his high school graduation. More than a few parishioners were startled when they met Gerald, not realizing this young man was eighteen and a college freshman!

    Gerald’s doctor at Children’s has been another mentor. Dr. Daniel Gunther, an endocrinologist, has guided his growth from 3 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 5 inches and weight gain from 53 pounds to 158. Dr. Gunther expects Gerald to grow several more inches.

    The growth hormone used was Nutropin, developed by Genentech of San Francisco. Genentech had Gerald come to San Francisco early this year to be honored as an outstanding example of their product’s success and then again in June to talk at the annual shareholders meeting. To his surprise, on his second visit, Gerald saw a gigantic color photo of himself hung on the facade of the building!

    Gerald graduated from Seattle University in June and is now pursuing a master’s in public administration. He has visited his family several times and hopes to go to Malawi next year, but his permanent home will be Seattle.

    Gerald loves working out, playing basketball and his favorite—beach volleyball at Alki.

    Gerald has long been aware of what he wants to do in the future. As a child in his village in Malawi, Gerald saw what members of World Vision were doing for his community and families. That is his vision, too.

* * * * *

Anna Horton and Stephen Pace do an amazing job organizing the annual Parish Picnic on the Feast of St. James, this year on Sunday, July 24

    Anna Horton and Stephen Pace didn’t travel as many thousands of miles as Gerald to find St. James. Their paths were journeys of faith.

    Anna Horton, who grew up on the Eastside, is a science teacher at a Renton middle school. Anna didn’t attend any church as a child and it wasn’t until she learned her mother had cancer that she began seeking a haven. A friend invited her to come to St. James. As Anna says, ”I just sort of stayed.” She was baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2000 after completing the RCIA process.

    Not one to stay idle, Anna was soon ushering and is now one of the coordinators for Sunday Masses, special liturgies, archdiocesan events and concerts. Anna also schedules nearly a hundred volunteers for the Winter Shelter Program and distributes sandwiches at Operation Nightwatch.

    Stephen arrived in the northwest in 1977, age 21, on his way to Los Angeles. He had just finished his stint in the Navy aboard the carrier, US Nimitz. His stopover in Seattle was to visit a brother in Bremerton.

    It took Stephen two years in college and a couple of career changes before he found his way to St. James. After working in restaurants he switched to hair styling and joined the Gary Manuel Salon in Belltown. He liked his career, his friends, and his West Seattle home, but realized he was missing a faith life. He had been raised an Episcopalian in Waco, Texas, but as a youngster he liked going to the Catholic church with his friends. (Stephen even had ‘RC’ put on his Navy ID bracelet, “just in case!”). Stephen first came to St James on Easter 2001 and was received into full communion in 2002. Like Anna, he was quickly involved in parish ministries. Stephen has volunteered in the RCIA program, welcomes new parishioners as a Cathedral Ambassador and serves as an assistant sacristan.

    Anna and Stephen are in their fourth year coordinating the Parish Picnic on the Feast of St. James. They assure us that this year’s picnic on Sunday, July 24, will be bigger and better than ever with additional games for children, plus good food and good friends.

Joan McDonell is a St. James parishioner, a daily volunteer in the parish office, and a member of the Development Committee.

Other articles in the March 2005 issue:

Other articles in the July 2005 issue:

Back To In Your Midst Page