Christian Service: Our Only Business
by Leona Mayeux
Orginally published in Scoop, Summer 1977
Upon its institution as the 99th CDA court in the state of Louisiana on September 5, 1973, Court St. John the Baptist 2079 began its commitment to service to the needy, the community, and the young.
Beginning my term as the Court’s second regent, I find myself looking back to where we come from and forward to where we are going. From both directions I can see only one signpost – CHRISTIAN SERVICE. We were born of the need within us to serve; we continue and endure because of that need and because of the good that comes from the giving of oneself.
As far back as December ’73, the Court was bringing basket to shut-ins. But it was in 1974 that we really got going; with cake sales for the retarded; anti-abortion campaigns through our state legislature and Congress; with visitation and care for the elderly and infirm; with spiritual renewal like a patriotic mass, a day of recollection, and vigils; with a visit to the inmates at St. Gabriel, bearing gifts to all; with our first Vacation Bible School; with State Convention and La. Jr. Commission involvement.
Three major Christian service endeavors loom heads above the rest in 1975; the beginning of SCOOP, the institution of JCDA Court St. John the Baptist 2079, and the promotion of our first Fiesta.
It was in Spring 1975 that our first issue of SCOOP was distributed. The letters stand for Service Call of Our People. Its initial front page editorial stated, “We hope that through our efforts at serving our fellow man we CDA members in Court St. John the Baptist are enough of an example to inspire all our people to take up the call of service.”
In June of 1975 we made our total commitment to youth; we instituted Junior Court St. John the Baptist. Thus began the story of the development of the youth through their own JCDA Christian service experiences. In their short two-year history I recall cyclathons for crippled children, visits to nursing homes, stamp collections for missions, painting fire hydrants, Halloween parties for retarded citizens, Christmas caroling in hospitals, candy to children at Earl K. Long, right-to-life promotions, baby-sitting at mases, help for the elderly, cake sales for the needy, youth group music for masses and the Bicentennial Wagon Train, involvement in state and national conventions.
The third big Christian service undertaking of 1975 really called the community to service. The first CDA Fiesta netted $2800.00. This entire sum was used to purchase a Gestetner mimeograph machine and scanner now used in the rectory to print the church bulletin, CCD and other needed materials the Parish uses. At the same time the Court dipped into its treasury for some $200.00 more to purchase AV equipment for CCD classes.
The Bicentennial year of 1976 found CDAs spread across WBR parish to serve the Commission. The Court, through me, is still serving as I complete the history of WBR this summer. It was also in 1976 that this CDA court became so involved in service to the CDA Louisiana State Court.
It was in March 1976 that CDA Christian service with Community was beautifully dramatized. The ladies joined the Lions for a “Helping Hands” benefit for the L. J. Berthelot family to help defray the tremendous medical bills incurred during their deceased son’s prolonged illness.
1976 saw the Court’s first Crowning of Mary. The beautiful spiritual experience warms our hearts and saddens us as we recall the music of our only deceased member, Mrs. Marguerite Landry.
That year we turned our tears for Mrs. Marguerite to more Christian service, as we established our Community Memorial Fund in her memory. The Fund will serve for financing more good works.
This year of 1977 we find our work only half-done. In February we joined hands again with our friends the Lions to bring Fr. John O’Dwyer to Brusly so that he might share his experiences as a reforming alcoholic with St. John the Baptist Parish.
1977 saw CDAs working internationally to help Kumi “Mish” Komeau get back to homeland of Okinawa.
Our work reached out across Louisiana as our Senior and Junior Courts played a prominent part in the La. JCDA Convention of June 4 and 5.
Looking ahead the signpost marked CHRISTIAN SERVICE lures us ever onward to fulfilling our need to serve our fellow man. So we are heading toward the same goal that begot us as a Court. On August 12, 1977, we will join hands again with the Brusly Lions to promote a benefit for our fellow parishioners in need, Nickie and Ethel Dicapo.
Sometimes we get tired and discouraged by obstacles and apathy. We ask, “Why do we do it?” I get my answer from various sources. One I find dramatic comes from the questions used by young Fr. Dan Drinan of LSU as he tried to get St. John High 7th graders to understand God; “What would you say if when you asked me to see God I would hold up a mirror to your face?” Our creation in His Image drives us to emulate him. God never turns his back on those in need. As His creation we cannot do so either.