“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
SJB parishioner Ed Flegel has followed St. John’s guidance for ministerial service ever since he was in the fourth grade. In fact, service to the Lord and his community has been Ed’s lifeblood throughout his entire career and his parish life. As we prepare to celebrate Stewardship Commitment Weekend at our parish on November 13 and 14, there’s no better way to learn about serving the Lord than to listen to Ed Flegel as he talks about his experiences.
Growing up in Holy Family Parish and School, Ed began serving at Masses at the age of 10 and continued as a devoted server throughout his high school years at Valley Forge and college years at Cleveland State. “I learned the Latin Mass at a very early age,” laughs Ed. While majoring in history at CSU, he tutored at Wilson Junior High in Cleveland and observed Special Education classes. After graduating from CSU, obtained a master’s degree in Special Education from Kent State University, and obtained a teaching certificate from Bowling Green State University. Ed instructed 7th through 9th grades at Thomas Jefferson School on the near west side of Cleveland.
In 1971, Ed answered the call of his country in the military police, guarding top military brass at Fort Myer, VA. Returning to Cleveland after two years in the army, Ed worked in career assessment in which he determined the talents of special needs students, trained them, and ultimately found suitable employment for them. For Ed, interacting with these young adults and their parents was very rewarding. “Parents were very happy that I was helping them to help their children,” remembers Ed. He retired from Cleveland Public Schools after more than 36 years. Ed then served as a transition coordinator at the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio and later at a non-profit organization, assisting persons with disabilities to find employment.
Ministry at SJB
Ed and his lovely wife Sue, who celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, joined St. John Bosco Parish in 1974. A neighbor first invited Ed to become a Eucharistic Minister in 1980. The following year Ed took on the role of Eucharistic Minister Schedule Coordinator, a position he has held ever since. Around the same time, Fr. Tulley initiated a Liturgical Committee, in which Ed and previous SJB ushers, lectors, and music directors planned Sunday and Holy Day Masses. A true ministry pioneer, Ed also took part in the organization of the first Stewardship Committee, helping to create the first Parish Guidebook.
Ed is also very involved in the parish St. Vincent DePaul conference, which he and Sue joined in 2002. From 2012 through 2017, Ed served as president of SJB’s SVdP conference. Today he is still actively caring for those who request help, making home visits and reviewing their needs. He assists in coordinating the provision of emergency assistance with food, rent, and utilities to needy members of the community. Ed also stocks shelves and “rolls out” full grocery carts at the Southwest Ozanam Food Pantry every Tuesday, “doing whatever needs to be done,” he smiles.
In addition, Ed serves on the Community Service Day planning committee. One Saturday each September, parishioners first come to morning Mass and then divide into small groups to perform yard work for the elderly, prepare personal care packages for those imprisoned, trim around gravestones at Holy Cross Cemetery, and many, many other community services. “I would like to grow this ministry as much as possible,” states Ed. “We need to let people know that we are not just people who go to church, but that SJB is part of the community.”
Returning to his roots in the Church, Ed remains an altar server at SJB morning Masses and funerals. “My Dad was serving at funerals until he was in his 80s, so I’d like to do the same as long as I can,” says Ed.
Submitted by Bob and Christine Martuch