For years and years and years, Jerry Pilarski has been at the church front door greeting our parishioners at the 9:15 mass. He gives special attention to new comers and little children. We call them “Jerry’s family.”
If you stand off to the side and watch the steady flow of arrivals, be sure to watch the kids. They will stand in line to shake his hand or just to say “Hello.” Jerry’s broad smile is sure to get a positive response. Some will twist and turn like they are saying, “Ahhh, sucks, Jerry…..”
Adults from 20 to 40 may have started their “Good Morning, Jerry” as a little toddler arriving at Gimghoul and our original church. Now, they lead their toddlers and even babies over to Jerry, just to say, “Hello.” The tradition continues.
One parishioner said, “I so enjoyed Jerry Pilarski’s reaction when I surprised him with the photo of us taken at his 90th Birthday celebration at the Orange Grove 4H Barn on July 22nd. ” This was Lorenz “Larry” Hofmann. Larry stopped by Jerry’s 90th Birthday lunch and was joined by many other families and their children to say, “Happy Birthday.” Two twins were at the birthday event and made sure Jerry knew that they just had to be there to celebrate with him. They were proud to be there as “Jerry’s girls.”
Larry also reflected on Jerry’s presence as a parish greeter. He said, “I usually await patiently in line, as Jerry enjoys speaking to many friends. Jerry is truly a wonderful asset of kindness and gentleness to our church and whoever he meets. He smiled and nodded, when I said everyone looks forward to celebrating his 95th Birthday.”
When not greeting, Jerry may be found cooking, at a fish fry, pancake breakfast, roasting a pig, or just having fun with everybody and making new friends.
These Men Called Knights, is the title of a booklet on Knights and their many ways of making a difference in their parishes. Jerry deserves a special place in all our hearts as he is part of our church “fabric,” that represents the many men and women of our church that serve others.
This is just one story of a Knight of Columbus. We have many more to share and we hope these stories motivate you to step forward and take a leadership role in the Council. And, why not share the experience of Knighthood by encouraging a fellow Catholic gentleman to join us. There is much work to do at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.