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Whether it is in sewing, embroidering, laundering or ironing, many of us spend hours preparing altar linens. We realize what a special ministry the altar guild offers and are blessed to be able to worship with lovely linens and vestments. But the cost of this workmanship can be steep if your parish does not have the financial resources to purchase them or the talent to make them. Some parishes are unable to provide altar linens at all.

Jane Ames realized this as she assumed the mantle of NAGA president. Jane wanted NAGA to be a complete resource for altar guilds. In response to the growing number of parishes in financial need, she conceived the Mission Supply Ministry.

The Mission Supply Ministry will supply altar linens to parishes in need. With Joan Derle as advisor, Jane asked me to oversee this ministry. When we sent out inquiries to bishops asking about the possible need, we were amazed and touched by the number of responses. The need is indeed greater than we had previously realized.

Volunteers are currently constructing kits, consisting of four purificators (two hemmed and two unhemmed), two lavabo towels (one hemmed and one unhemmed) and two corporals (one hemmed and one unhemmed). Instructions for hemming will be included.

These altar linens are being made entirely by machine out of cream-colored cotton for ease of laundering. There was some difficulty in finding the correct fabric, which caused an unforeseen delay in getting started. That was solved by a specialty fabric store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that provided the fabric for us at a discounted rate.

We also decided to provide the linens with the crosses already machine-stitched on each item. I was in a quandary about how to achieve machine-embroidered crosses–and a lot of them. We needed a person with an embroidery machine, and I prayed that God would provide.

After asking for volunteers at an ECW gathering in Louisiana, an angel from Mississippi came forward. Lollie Everett of Brandon, Mississippi, volunteered to do all of the machine embroidery of the crosses. Even though I know that God will provide for our needs, I am always blown away by the way He does it.

An e-mail forwarded by Joan Derle put me in touch with Rebecca Markert from Antioch, Tennessee, who had recently assisted Joan Derle in constructing some of the stoles for our armed services chaplains. Rebecca has volunteered to do some machine hemming.

The willingness of Lollie and Rebecca to share their talents is a testament to their faith and to God’s providing for this ministry.

Because of the number of parishes we’ll need to supply, we need more assistance:

Volunteers are needed to machine-hem straight hems. I’ve been hemming so much that I think I can now measure ¼” in my sleep! We will provide the already-cut linens and the thread.

If you are fortunate to have an embroidery machine, there are linens that need crosses. Lollie is up to her ears in crosses and would welcome the relief, I’m sure.

Please help us by volunteering to hem or embroider. You may e-mail me at or call me at 985-510-0756. I have prayed for your participation in this new ministry. Thanks be to God.

by JoAnn Ziller



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