BLUFFTON — At St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bluffton, Sister Carol Inkrott retires today after 17 years of service with the diocese.
Inkrott, 75, said she decided to retire due to her age. Father John McLoughlin will fill the position on Aug. 8. In the diocese, priests retire at 75, so she fell under the same category.
She will move to Bascom, Ohio, and attend St. Patrick’s Church. In her retirement, she plans to travel to Maine with her sister on a bus trip, a goal she said has been on her “bucket list” and also will welcome refugees at the border of Mexico. The church had a party to honor her the last Sunday in June.
She has been a sister of St. Francis for 58 years.
She was a director of religious education at St. Pius X Church in Sycamore, Ohio, where she directed the religious education program. She earned a master’s degree in religious and pastoral ministry from the University of Dayton in 1994. She also has a certificate as director of religious education that is required by the Catholic diocese.
After obtaining her education, she worked as a pastoral associate and director of religious education at three Ohio parishes including St. Michael’s in Marywood, Assumption Parish in Reed and St. Sebastian in Bismark. She served as director of religious education for eight years at St. Peter Parish in Huron.
In 2002, she came to St. Mary’s Church in Bluffton where she served as a pastoral leader. Her duties included sacramental preparation, meeting with councils and committees, visiting the sick and leading communion services.
“I really enjoy the people. I am always inspired by the goodness of the people and here at St. Mary’s they have been very talented and generous,” Inkrott said.
She discussed changes in the church over the years, explaining an addition in 2007 that included a new kitchen, offices, bathrooms and three new classrooms.
“We had outgrown what we had. Every Saturday and Sunday we had to take down tables and chairs and set up chairs and after Mass put them back up for religious education,” Inkrott said.
An annual mission trip to Appalachia was started at the church 10 years ago where parishioners make home repairs that Inkrott has participated in and attended every year.
“This helps us to see not everyone is as lucky as we are and broadens our vision,” Inkrott said.
The church also has gotten involved with Family Promise, a national program, to house homeless families. The church takes two weeks out of the year in the spring and fall to provide supper and visit with the homeless and they stay overnight in the church’s classrooms.
“I never thought I would be a pastoral leader for this long. It has been a great honor and privilege,” Inkrott said.
Rachel Welch, administrative assistant, said Inkrott will be missed.
“She has been a really good leader and friend and got the ball rolling on so many things in this parish, She has made us a closer family,” Welch said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.