A Local Hero This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 20, 2011
Often we categorize only celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians as influential people. Sadly we overlook true heroes, the ones you see at the grocery store or in the third pew at church. Theresa McLaury, the pastoral assistant at Holy Cross Parish, has touched the lives of many, including me.

You may be wondering what a pastoral assistant does. She schedules which priests serve Mass and sets up funerals. Theresa organizes events like the Holy Cross Spaghetti Dinner and the breakfast for the parish elders. She also goes to Douglas County Hospital to visit residents and to serve them communion. She has become a good friend to many there. Dennis, one she befriended, is a paraplegic. Theresa actually had her basement made wheelchair accessible so he could visit her house. This is just one of the many kind things she does for people.

Theresa helps families cope with the loss of a loved one. When my grandma died, she planned the funeral and luncheon. In addition to arranging everything, Theresa sent us a bereavement basket, which she does for everyone in the parish who has lost a loved one.

Theresa grew up in Omaha with a mother who had many health issues. The skills she learned taking care of her mother are ones she continues to use in her job.

When I interviewed Theresa, I asked her why she chose a career that pays so little. She answered, “Pope John the 23rd said that when we die, God will ask us how we have loved His people. He doesn't care how many houses we owned or how much stuff we had. He cares about our love.” When I asked her what personal rewards she gets from her career, she said she loves it when she visits Douglas County Hospital and the residents who are usually quiet or sad remember her name and say hello. Also, I asked if her career presents any challenges. She said that her biggest challenge is trying to help everybody. And if she can't help everyone, she feels inadequate. “I think I have no limitations. But I do. And I sometimes don't realize that. I want to help everyone, but I can't,” she said.

Theresa loves her parish. She has touched so many lives and inspired others to strive to do God's will. Theresa has touched my life by inspiring me to help others and work to do the will of God. In fact, I can remember as far back as kindergarten when she organized a neighborhood cleanup.

Theresa said she was called to help others, and that is exactly what she does. She brings students from Holy Cross School to the hospital to play Bible Bingo with residents, which is fun for the students and makes the residents' day.

Theresa helps so many in need. A widow and her son couldn't get to Mass because they didn't have a ride, so she brought them to Mass and now organizes others to drive them, my family being one of them. Theresa even brings people to their doctor's appointments if they need a ride.

Theresa bridges the gap between generations by encouraging young people to assist the elderly. She makes her work personal. Not many can say they love their job, but Theresa definitely can. Her generosity and love has resulted in a ripple effect in our community. She helps someone and then inspires others to help as well.

Theresa is amazing. Her favorite quote is “Your love for God is as great as your love for the person you love the least,” and she tries her best to apply these words to her life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

kate12345me said...
Jan. 19, 2012 at 3:26 am
You are very good! I loved the words in this. I am not of the same religion, but I could feel a connection to this saintly woman who is very kind, indeed. My favourite part was when you mentioned that she built a ramp so the paraplegic man could come visit; it was touching and heart-warming. I definitely think you have a talent, and if you could check out some of my work I would be absolutely honored! Love, 13-year-old Katie x
callaannkessler1 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm
thank you! :) and I will!
aaronbuhrow said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 8:22 am
wow I thought this articles was awesome. It has a lot of voice and shows character. Great work
callaannkessler1 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm
thank you so much!
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback