Associate Cynthia Zalek fulfilled a personal goal recently when she became a certified lay ecclesial (pastoral) minister. She and six others were certified in the Cleveland (Ohio) diocese in January during special ceremonies at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
"The day was just awesome," Zalek said. "Our work for the Lord never ends!"
She is the newest associate member of the SSJ-TOSF and became acquainted with the congregation through her spiritual director, Sr. Francis Therese Woznicki.
Zalek works as a quality assurance associate at the American Red Cross in Cleveland. Besides now serving as pastoral minister at her home parish of St. Charles Borromeo in Parma, she also volunteers as lector and Eucharistic minister.
Following the mass, she was joined by about one hundred people at a celebratory reception held by her fellow parishioners and Red Cross co-workers at the Red Cross headquarters. Sr. Francis Therese and Sr. Dian Majsterek also attended the day's events.
Following is a comment from Sr. Francis Therese regarding Zalek's evangelization in action:
"It has been my privilege over the last ten years to witness the action of God's grace in Cindy's life. Cindy is a Vatican II Catholic in the best sense of the word. She is an example of a lay person who deeply believes in her baptismal call to reveal God's love and embraced this call whole-heartedly no matter the cost. She did so in all the years it took to complete a master of arts in theology at the seminary while working full time, caring for elderly parents, undergoing the certification formation program and working with Sr. Betty Gulick, who mentored her in pastoral ministry at Marymount Place.
Many of our sisters know Cindy from her enthusiastic participation in our Centering Prayer Group, Associate gatherings and every other chance she takes to share our Franciscan life. Besides that, she is a great drummer, taking after her father, who was a band leader. Our future is bright when it draws persons like Cindy to share life and faith with us!"