In Your Midst

The Pew Next to You

May 2012

Meet Kathy & Max Lewis and Carmela Halos

Kathy and Max Lewis lived a few blocks from the Cathedral and attended Sunday Mass at St. James for several years without really being involved in the life of the parish.  All that changed on September 11, 2001.  Kathy heard about the interfaith prayer service offered in the Cathedral that night, and told Max, “we’ve got to go to this.”  Soon, they were training as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion with Sister Claudette Conrad and Linda Condes and serving at Mass not only on Sundays but on weekdays.

Today, Kathy and Max are involved in many different aspects of parish life.  They both continue to serve as “EM’s” at Mass and take communion to homebound parishioners. “It’s an amazing experience to give communion,” Kathy says.  “It’s very touching and humbling to see the faith of the people who come forward.”  They also share a passion for justice.  Currently Max is a member of the Life, Peace, and Justice Commission, and Kathy serves on the Housing Advocacy Committee.

Both Kathy and Max work with the marginalized, Kathy as a Care Manager at Jubilee Women’s Center on Capitol Hill and Max as a Client Service Specialist at King County Mental Health.  They find their work profoundly meaningful, but also stressful at times.  “Being involved at the Cathedral is a way of finding balance,” Kathy says.  “Participating in the liturgy means everything to me.  This is my second home; it’s where I find spiritual balance in my life and hope for the future.  Here, no matter what’s going on, I see and serve with people who are invested and faithful.” 

For Max, one of his most rewarding involvements is as a minister at the 5:30pm Mass on weekdays, which Kathy also loved doing until her work schedule would no longer allow it.  “I love the intimacy of the weekday Masses,” Max says, “and as wonderful as Father Ryan’s homilies are on Sunday, I think his homilies on weekdays have a jewel-like quality.  The values that are so important to me in daily life and in the civic arena are formed by my faith, and participating in weekday Mass helps to sustain me.”
Carmela Halos has been an Extraordinary Minister since 2000.  She serves alongside Max and Kathy on Sundays, and serves with Max at the evening Mass on weekdays.  Carmela also volunteers to serve at most of the Cathedral’s wedding Masses!

Carmela works at the UW’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics as a Fiscal Specialist Supervisor.  She will mark 25 years there this October, and has been honored more than once by the College of Engineering with the “Community of Innovators Award.”

Important as her work is to her, Carmela’s heart is at St. James Cathedral.  “I love attending Mass,” she says, “because I believe the Mass is the perfect act of worship and prayer. We receive the Body and Blood of Christ.  I feel blessed and strengthened by attending the Mass.”  Carmela especially loves being an EM:  “It’s my joy.  It’s my way of thanking God for the many blessings he has given me.”

Like Max, Carmela feels that weekday Mass is special.  “The homilies are like bread for life,” Carmela says.  She loves serving alongside the different priests and sacristans, and she enjoys her fellow EM’s, too:  “I love serving with Max.  He is very nice and down to earth.  He jokes, but I like his jokes!”

Max adds, “before I started serving, Carmela and Abundia, another one of our EM’s, were an inspiration to me.  I love Carmela’s faith and her joyous spirit.  She puts up with all my playing around and lets me call her ‘Carmie.’  We aren’t Christians alone – we’re Christians in community, and I need that dose of community every day.”

Corinna Laughlin serves with Max and Carmela at the 5:30pm Mass weeknights. 

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