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Bocce Ministry

The people playing on this past Tuesday afternoon were great examples.

Gary LaTray is the manager of Assumption Church's apartment complex on the next block. Jaime De Jesus, a neighbor, was there as were Nick and Rosario Viggiano. They had all pitched in to help build the court.

Malva O'Neil, who lives "Just down the street," was playing for the first time. Anne and Jessica joined in the game. Jessica, who is home schooled by Anne, a former teacher, shares her father's affinity for the game and also served as the "official measurer," using the traditional bocce measuring tool, a length of string.

The banter was friendly -- Lou is clearly just one of the neighbors. He prefers "Lou," or Brother Lou" to "Reverend."

"I am a minister. Ministers serve people -- they care for people, they help people," he said.

Lou retired from a successful business career to enter the ministry. He was called to serve some 20 years ago, but could not take on the full-time position until his business was solidly in the hands of his successor, his son.

"I had a responsibility to my employees to maintain the business so they could provide for their families. I had served the church for many years and when the time came, I was ready for the ministry," he said.

The court itself is a reflection of Lou's ministry

The surface is rolled crushed stone from Tom Kinsella's quarry. The railroad ties, which boarder the courts, are castoffs from the CSX railroad yard, obtained by a fellow minister and transported to the site by Lou and his "crew." They poured the concrete sidewalk, steps and walkway, learning as they worked. Fresh grass surrounds the new trees that grow in the median between the court and the alley. Lights for the court are part of his vision. When asked about the financing for the project he changes the subject, saying only, again with a knowing smile, "The Lord provides."

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