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Reverend Benny Mekkatt,
Pastor

I am humbled and honored to be appointed as your pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church. I consider it a privilege and a great gift to be able to serve within this parish community. This new appointment is a return to the east side for me, as I recently served as pastor at Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary. I know some of you, and I am sure, at least a few of you, already know me. Most of you may be still curious to know more about me, so let me use this column to introduce myself.

I am originally from Kerala, India. I come from a traditionally Catholic family.  As my name indicates, Benny, I am the Benjamin (the youngest) of six children.  I have three sisters and two brothers, and one of my sisters is a nun, belonging to the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC).  My mom and other siblings live in India. I am also blessed to have dozens of nieces and nephews and a few grand nieces and nephews, too.

I am a member of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (CFIC), founded by a saintly man, Blessed Luigi Maria Monti, in Rome, Italy in 1857.  The Congregation has communities and missions in 23 countries. As part of my priestly training I lived in India, Italy and the Philippines.  After completing my studies for the priesthood, I was ordained a priest in India on October 9th, 2004.  Three years after my ordination I was asked to come to St. Paul as part of our CFIC community at the Church of St. Mary in downtown St. Paul.  During my first six years in Minnesota, I worked primarily as a hospital chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center and helped out in various parish communities. During that time I used to celebrate the first Saturday Mass at Blessed Sacrament. For three and a half years I was pastor at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Maplewood. Since July 1st, 2017, I have served as pastor at the Church of St. Mary. In the same month, I was also appointed as the Superior for the CFIC North American Delegation.

 I was ordained in September of 2009 and assigned to the parish in October of that year. My duties include:

·       Baptism preparation and Baptisms

·       Marriage preparation

·       RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)

·       Liturgy preparation

·       Visiting parishioners in local hospitals and care facilities

·       Volunteer chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul

 

I was raised in St. Paul; my family belonged to St. Bernard’s parish. I attended grade and high school there. I was married for 30 years to Catherine (Kay Goth) Saladin until her death in September 2008. We have three children, Joseph, David and Thomas and three grandchildren.

I spent 42 years in the railroad industry, retiring in 2010. I have a BA in Business from the College of St. Thomas and a Masters in Pastoral Ministry from the University of St. Thomas School of Divinity. I am truly blessed and honored to be a servant to the parish.

I have been an East sider all of my life.  More importantly, I have been a Catholic all of my life, just recently celebrating my baptism birthday last weekend.  I grew up in the Sacred Heart parish on the rocking east side and attended elementary school there, and then off to Harding  High School.  I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in business from the University of Minnesota.  My life became complete when I met and married my beautiful blushing bride [Angela] 28 years ago, and God allowed us to have two wonderful children, Alea and Evan.  My daughter attended and graduated from North Dakota State University and is married to a loving husband, Michael.  They reside in New York Mills, MN.  God has blessed them [and all of us] with 3 beautiful children – Henry, Josephine and Francis.  My son, Evan has also graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he resides in Minneapolis.  Both my children are graduates from Chesterton Academy High School way back when the school was in its infancy stage [Alea was in the very first graduating class!]

 

Years ago Angela and I worked with a wonderful group called Living Catholic.  This is where we met Joy Hoffman and Father John Paul Erickson.  Angela and I are also closely associated with the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver.  We are Extern members of this Order and have been for the past few years.  We love the sisters and help out at their convent whenever we can.  Help consists of coordinating an annual plant sale to raise funds for very worthwhile causes.  Help also consists of yard work, garden work, and praying with the congregation, and helping serve the poor at Sharing and Caring Hands.

 

I am humbled to have been offered the role of Parish Business Administrator and I ask for your prayers for our parish and for the wisdom needed to work with the pastor and dedicated staff to help assure the success of our parish.  I thank God every day for granting me my family, and for the strength to always try living out my Catholic values.  I am truly blessed to have a strong family who are all actively following their Catholic roots.  I pray that they [and all of us] never lose our thirst for following the teachings of the Catholic church.

I grew up in the parish of the St. Thomas the Apostle and used to live right across the street. Then by the time my husband and I were expecting our fifth child we moved into a bigger house closer to the original Blessed Sacrament site and attended church there for years. I truly feel connected to this wonderful community!

 

I have been working in the parish for over fourteen years. I started as Faith Formation Director and then switched positions in 2014. I am now the Administrative Coordinator and love the opportunity it gives me to meet and talk with parishioners! Some of my duties are: Communications (including the weekly bulletin), public relations & advertising, website development & maintenance, baptism intake, marriage preparation, and calendaring.

 

I have been married for over thirty years. I am a busy mom with ten children. Five of my kids are already married and we are now blessed with thirteen grandchildren!

Carol McKenna,
Parish Nurse

I visit our Homebound and Hospitalized parishioners and I also  serve as a health resource for our parishioners. Health programs are offered during the year for anyone interested in attending.  Blood Pressures are taken once a month following the weekend Mass.

I work with our Homebound Ministers in planning two events for Homebound and Senior parishioners. These events occur during the Christmas season and in the summer.

Along with another parishioner I meet and assist families in planning the funeral of a family member.

Jan Meulemans,
Music Director

I have been involved in music ministry at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church of the last 40 years.

I currently hold the position of Director of Music which involves playing for all weekend Masses, including Holy Day, funeral, and wedding Masses. I am also in charge of rehearsing and directing our cantors and choirs and in music selection for all Masses. I attend liturgical workshops and music reading sessions when they are available.

I grew up in Wisconsin with seven siblings on a rural farm in the town of Cadott, moved to Saint Paul in 1966, married my husband, Richard (deceased 12/2001), in 1969. We have 3 children and seven grandchildren. I also have 6 stepchildren, 10 stepgrandchildren and 4 great-step grandchildren.

In addition to my work at Blessed Sacrament I have a home-based medical billing business which serves 8 doctors, office manager in the afternoons for a psychologist, TMS Clinician on-call for a psychiatrist, professional house cleaner and I am also an Avon Consultant.

When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my family, shopping (MOA), reading, playing the piano, and flower gardening.

I am so honored to work with families in the Faith Formation programs.  As I get to know each of you, feel free to introduce yourself and I will do the same. 

I live in Stillwater with my dear husband of over twenty-three years, Rick.  We have six children and five grandchildren with two middle-school aged sons still living at home.  In Stillwater, I have been involved in parish ministries such as Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Vacation Bible Camp, Sunday School, Confirmation, CCW, and Eucharistic Adoration.  My prior job of ten wonderful years was licensed family child care.  In a few months I will graduate with my master’s degree in Family Life Education. I look forward to dusting off my Spanish skills and using my experiences to serve children and families at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Specifically, I will coordinate the Wednesday evening and Sunday morning faith formation classes, sacramental preparation (First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation), Youth Ministry, Sunday Nursery, and other opportunities for faith formation of all ages.  I will also train catechists and help ensure a Safe Environment for our parish.

I am blessed to love my work.  When not on the job, I enjoy coffee with a friend, talking with kids, Square Lake with family, and daily mass with fellow Catholics. 

I am grateful to join you in faith and service.  All for the kids!  All for Christ!