Did you ever guess, 45 years ago when you were first learning about the Catholic faith in anticipation of your wedding to Henry, that you would one day be a catechist, forming new Catholics in the faith?
Absolutely not. I was scared to death but willing to learn. When I had my preparation to become Catholic, I met one-on-one with our priest once a week. He would give me homework and we didn’t have teaching/learning materials like we do now. He would have me do reading and praying, and Henry was always my support. Having that type of class with a priest … was really quite scary because I thought I wouldn’t know what to say.
How do you view your role as a lay minister at your parish?
At St. Martin de Porres, we’ve had several different priests since we’ve been there. I would say that Henry and I are pretty good at supporting them. I try to do whatever the pastor thinks I can do and asks me to do; so I just try my best, whatever it is. I must say having Henry by my side and prayer helps a lot.
Do you have a favorite ministry?
I think of all of the ministries that I’m involved with my favorite is when we have baptisms. I enjoy the time that we spend with parents and their children preparing them for baptism. I like doing that because … the families come together and they’re just so happy and it’s just a wonderful time, and we start to watch these families grow. The children grow and receive other sacraments and participate in religious education and catechetical Sundays. The parents start to have ministries, as well — communion ministers, lectors, etc. I really get to know the teens through Confirmation Prep as they grow and go off to college.
Being retired, what do you like to do to keep busy?
I love to go to the Goodwill and just rummage, looking for unique dishes and glassware. And because Henry and I are both retired, we would have lunch dates every Friday and maybe another day in the week. We haven’t been doing that because we don’t go out because of COVID, and I really miss that. I must say Henry and I try new recipes and cooking together.
What do you think the secret is to a good and holy marriage?
I really know that if I need something, Henry is going to be right there. No matter what I’m doing, Henry and I walk this journey together. We’re always together and when we’re doing something, we support each other. Of course, we love each other and we do have to compromise on things in general. But I think also that you have to listen to each other. And you’ve got to talk to one another when there is something bothering you, or a happy moment, or just something you want to question. Communication is really important.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would probably go out in the street and dance for a quick minute. Then I’d come back and hit the reality button. But I think I would spend some quiet time first and ask the Lord, “OK, you’ve given me this responsibility of having money – lead me to where I can help people do whatever it is you want me to do with it.” Besides that, I would probably splurge on a few things.
What’s your favorite movie?
This is so easy for me — the movie “The Color Purple” is my favorite movie. My daughter and my grandchildren and I watch that every year at Christmas.
Years and years ago, Henry and I went on a cruise and we went to the Caribbean and I was introduced to grouper fish. That is absolutely my favorite food. I love it.
If you could spend the afternoon with one person other than your spouse, who would it be and what would you talk about?
It’s really a couple, both deceased now. Deacon and Mrs. Anthony Mensah. They were members of our parish, and they were such a great example of complete togetherness. Talking to Dcn. Mensah, he would always bring the conversation back to explaining the reason for something — like I could say, “Wow, isn’t it cold outside,” and he would bring it back to being grateful to have heat and a home to live in. He was like that. They were such a wonderful example of a married couple, together with love and the love of God as a very important part of their lives. I miss them and think of them often.
Look for a future issue of the Catholic Herald for the Body of Christ profile of Peggy’s husband Henry Bowles.