Planting a church parish takes many hands and Lizeth Martinez, 21, has seen how a few helping hands can make a difference. Growing up and living in Prairie Grove, Martinez attended St. Raphael Parish in Springdale and then Mass in the storefront off the square in Lincoln (Washington County) until Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Lincoln was established in 2017.
Over the past six years, Martinez has been a lector, Eucharistic minister, catechist for confirmation, a member of the Charismatic movement and even cleaned the church. Doing whatever needed done at the parish was part of her family’s faith journey.
“Some of my best memories are from visiting different youth groups around the state that were struggling. That is where my faith grew a lot,” she said.
In the fall, Martinez’s journey continues as she begins her senior year as a kinesiology major at the University of Arkansas. Following graduation, she has applied for a master’s degree physical therapy program. Ultimately, Martinez would like to work with pediatric patients diagnosed with Down syndrome or autism.
At UA, Martinez has been involved with student government and SOOIE, a student organization. Often, she sought solace and de-stressed at the campus parish of St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish, sometimes going there to just study.
Although finishing her last semester online was successful, she says stopping public Masses took a toll on her.
“It made me appreciate Mass so much,” she said. “My mom and I began going to adoration for two hours on Thursdays during the pandemic and that has helped me grow and appreciate my faith more.”
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