Elizabeth and Neil Griffin with their children Meghan and Molly. Pilot photo/ Courtesy the Griffins
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WEYMOUTH -- Every month, the youngest parishioners of St. Albert the Great Parish in Weymouth are given a unique treat: after the Gospel is proclaimed at the Children’s Mass, it is reenacted for them by puppeteers.
“The Gospel can sometimes be hard for the children to understand and to see the children fully understand it is so wonderful,” said Elizabeth Griffin, the director of the puppet ministry program at St. Albert’s.
“To see the faces of the children and see their eyes light up when we begin is very rewarding,” she said.
Griffin, 52, began the puppet ministry program two years ago after attending a Mass in Milton during which the Gospel of the day was reenacted in a puppet show.
“I thought, ‘This is definitely something we could do,’” she recalled, and contacted then-pastor, Father Laurence Borges who supported her desire to begin the program.
There was just one problem -- she had no puppets.
Turning to her fellow parishioners, Griffin asked them to “adopt” a puppet -- name it, create it, dress it.
“It turned out to be a wonderful idea,” she recalled, noting that some parishioners who were mourning the loss of loved ones named their puppets after the deceased and were helped through the grieving process.
“The planning process was also a healing process for some people,” she said.
Armed with her puppets, Griffin asked nine other parishioners, including her own daughter, to become puppeteers. The group of 10, including Donna Hurley who writes the scripts for the performances, has developed the puppet ministry into a staple at St. Albert’s.
The reaction, she said, has been “amazing.”
“You can hear a pin drop during the performances,” she said. “And, most importantly, the children always leave the church with a message.”
In addition to her involvement in the puppet ministry program, Griffin is also involved in several other aspects of parish life. A parishioner at St. Albert’s for eight years, together with her husband Neil Griffin, she is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, a co-chairperson on the parish liturgy committee and has taught first grade religious education.
“St. Albert’s is an incredible place to be,” she said. “This is a place where you don’t feel like a number; everyone knows you. It’s a very dynamic place.”
A cradle Catholic originally from Dorchester, Griffin admits her faith “took off” after she had her two daughters, ages 12 and 11.
“Growing up, I was really active in the Church, but my faith didn’t mean to me what it means to me now,” she said. “My faith is a big important part of my life. I think that everything comes from God, and we are so blessed for all that he has given us.”
Griffin also praised her new pastor, Father Paul Soper.
“He’s a breath of fresh air,” she said. “He came here with so many ideas -- he’s making us think about things that we’ve never thought about before. I think he’s just wonderful.”
St. Albert the Great Parish, Weymouth
Year established -- 1950
Pastor -- Father Paul Soper
Religious Ed. Director -- John J. Hammel
Music Director -- Brenda Hansen
Organists -- Julie Kenerson,