Lantern Flames Associate Group
Nano’s light continues to glow through the Lantern Flames associate group who spans three counties: Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw and Floyd in North Central Iowa. Following a year of initiation on the Presentation story with Sister Diana Blong, Maureen Utter, Ventura; Yvonne Kisch, Charles City; and Rita Swinton, Lisa Zwanziger, Richard and Sue Baldwin, all from Nashua, have been gathering almost monthly for further study, reflection, prayer and sharing in various ways these past two years.
Besides participating in associate renewals and area Presentation gatherings, together they served at the Cedar River Community Kitchen in Charles City, gathered personal supplies for gifts to the elderly and needy at Christmas and supported the Spanish-speaking community at their monthly liturgy and for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
When they are not serving together, they are engaged in many ministries in their parishes. All participate in the liturgy in one or more of the following ways: lectors, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, ushers, choir members, leaders of rosary and stations of the cross and members of parish liturgy committees. Lisa Zwanziger also hosts parish outdoor masses twice a year at the pond by her home in Nashua and campout events for the youth.
Dick and Sue Baldwin enjoy their ministries as parish coordinators of St. Michael Parish, Nashua, where they have initiated a prayer line, a Christmas party at Cedar Vale Assisted Living and “Good Samaritan Volunteer Visitors” to the care centers and shut-ins. Among the volunteers are Lisa, whose daycare children sing, and Rita Swinton, who “feels like we have won the lottery!” after a day of visiting. Rita also has assumed leadership roles in St. Elizabeth’s Circle and St. Michael’s Guild, including coordinating funeral luncheons after the Baldwins assist families with church arrangements. All are highly committed to special events that enrich the broader community, in addition to the annual parish salad bar, the ecumenical Lenten luncheons and the Big Four Fair food stand.
St. Patrick Church in Clear Lake is blessed with Maureen Utter’s commitment to the RCIA process, Confirmation team, sacramental prep tutor and hospitality for faith formation events. Her efforts extend beyond the parish as the chairperson of the five-parish Faith Formation Commission, the Dubuque Archdiocesan Lay Formation Advisory Board and the Living in Mission Board. She is also a parish ambassador for the American Martyrs Retreat House and volunteers on their Dream work weekend.
With her past leadership experience on the Immaculate Conception Pastoral Council, Yvonne Kisch is now vice president of the New Hampton Deanery ACCW. Appalachia has called her to a work group in Kentucky and to the Passionist Volunteers in West Virginia. In her winter Florida parish, Yvonne helps with bake sales and rummage sales as fund
raisers for the needy.
Community service for Yvonne includes delivering Meals on Wheels, being a team leader for Relay for Life to support cancer research and volunteering with the community theater group, The Stoney Point Players, to support the local arts council and scholarships for senior high drama students.
As a youth minister and vacation bible school coordinator, Lisa offers untold hours for others, including quilting for the silent auction or donating crafts to help youth raise funds for their national conventions. A Girl Scout leader for 15 years, she is an active leader in Nashua’s Garden Club and creatively organizes special events in the parish. When she isn’t encouraging youth to collect food for the needy, she may be boxing up clothing to a homeless shelter in St. Louis.
Near or far, in the parishes, their communities or other parts of the country, Lantern Flames are brightening the world with their dedication, love and care for others in the spirit of Nano!
Left to right: Above photo: .Lantern Flames associate group: Dick and Sue Baldwin, Rita Swinton, Yvonne Kisch, Sister Diana Blong, Maureen Utter and Lisa Zwanziger. Bottom left photo: Sue Baldwin and Lisa Zwanziger are “all smiles” and ready to help as they prepare for the Cedar River Community Kitchen Sunday evening meal in Charles City, Iowa.