by Fr. Tom Smith, OFM Conv.
November 30th was a special evening of appreciation for Holy Cross Retreat Center. Sixteen members of the Definitories from Our Lady of Consolation, St. Joseph Cupertino, and St. Bonaventure Provinces joined with fifty-five other people to recognize the contributions of Carl McGrew and Esther Jasso.
Carl was received as an Affiliate (Honorary Member) of the Province of OLC in recognition of his 19 years of volunteer service to the friars. He has been a leader within the Serra Club, which promotes and helps pay for Franciscan vocation efforts. He has coordinated the installation of irrigation systems and landscaping for the friary at Holy Cross, and more recently has developed the Good Works Volunteers. This is a group of about 15 men and women who give eight hours a week in the spring and fall for all kinds of projects. They built the large cross and liturgical furniture for the new Chapel, developed the landscaping, rosary walk, and labyrinth around the Chapel, remodeled the large conference room, and more recently renovated the atrium of the original hacienda. Carl’s good nature and organizational skills benefit many people. He and his wife, Claudine, graciously accepted the recognition.
Esther Jasso has worked for the Retreat Center for 32 years. She has been our lead cook for many of those years, preparing delicious meals served with care. She has also taught many of our other cooks the skills of the kitchen and how to treat retreatants well so they want to return. She has now retired and her presence will be missed, yet her impact will be felt for many years to come. Esther received a gold cross with small diamonds and a memorial brick for her and her husband in recognition of her many years of service.