Kathy Dobrzynski

Kathy Dobrzynski can be seen in many aspects of volunteering at Trinity, but one of her favorites consists of her assisting confirmation students as they acolyte during a church service. Her work is done in the sacristy, so she is indeed “behind the scenes.”

When did she start helping in this capacity? She said, “It actually goes back to Pastor Kevin [now Bishop Kevin]!  When he was teaching confirmation online, he wanted someone to take attendance. This was during Covid…  He asked me to be that person, and I said yes.  I was originally to be on for just the beginning of the class, but I became involved with the discussion he was having with the students and I stayed on through the whole session.  He also had me keep track of all the sermon notes the students were doing.”

She then began helping with the acolytes in the fall of 2021. She explained, “I remember when my kids did this, and they were always nervous the first time.  I meet the students in the sacristy at 8:45 AM  and make sure they are wearing a gown that isn’t too long.  We don’t want them tripping when they are going up and down the steps. I remind them how to carry the candle lighter and to leave a space between the other acolytes and themselves.  We certainly don’t want someone’s hair set on fire.  We go through the bulletin and mark when they will go down to meet the ushers.  If there is communion, I mark that part with a star and I enter a note on the second to last verse on when they extinguish the candles. I always tell acolytes not to be afraid to ask the pastors a question because they will guide them, too!”

Dobrzynski’s work doesn’t end there. During the service, she pays attention to how the acolytes are doing with their assigned duties, “so at the end of the service, I can give them a compliment on something they did very well.  Kids love compliments!” She added, “I am there every Sunday unless I am sick or have something going on, so even if an acolyte has done this before, I am there!!”

Kathy Dobrzynski and Acolytes

Recently, Dobrzynski’s two acolytes of the day were McKenna Schlitter and Evan Howe. She chatted with them for a bit while finding robes and making sure the acolytes knew what to do during the service. As she assisted Schlitter with her robe, Dobrzynski noticed that she might have to take a robe home to fix the zipper a bit. She also helped the acolytes find their sermon note forms and said, “Sometimes I’ll help a bit with these, too.” After the services, Dobrzynski said she usually offers to help with the last question on the form, which asks for a family member’s “take” on the sermon. “If a family member isn’t around, I will help!” she explained and then winked and said, “Of course, that means I have to pay attention so I can have an answer for them!” 

Sometimes, she comes across a service that surprises her. One Sunday, Dobrzynski said she had one acolyte ready to go and instructed him to light the candles. When she went back to the sacristy, another student came in. She asked him if he was her other acolyte, and he replied that he wasn’t…but thought he would volunteer since he saw there was only one acolyte helping that day. Dobrzynski said, “That filled my heart with joy!  I have never had anybody come in and volunteer!!”

Kathy Dobrzynski, Acolytes, and Pastor Dan Gerrietts

Dobrzynski also serves in other ways after retiring in 2020 as a para at Harding Elementary School. She now volunteers at Harding, assisting a teacher in her classroom. “I enjoy the young kids, and a lot of our youth need extra caring adults in their lives!  It is a very fulfilling job.  Money isn’t everything!” As for her volunteer work at Trinity, Dobrzynski helps with the Scandinavian Bazaar, reads scriptures, and helps with communion. She explained, “Reading scriptures at first was very hard for me, but I figured if my son Doug can do it., so can I!!!”

Dobrzynski thought back to when she was initially asked to provide this service of assisting acolytes. “I didn’t think I would like working with this age of students, but our youth have changed my mind because they are very smart!” she said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know them!” she exclaimed. “It’s a different perspective, and I like it!”

Sometimes, a simple connection with other people…no matter how old they are…can make all the difference in the world. Thanks, Kathy, for making a difference in so many young people’s lives! †