Swormville parishioner keeps the faith in prayer, teaching and art

Thu, Apr 24th 2014 09:50 am

Involvement and creativity are signature words for Rosanne Saccoccia. A parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Swormville, she is a prayer group member, serves as a lector and teaches a teen Scripture class. She also enjoys working with faith images slowly and deliberately, taking brush to canvas.

Saccoccia had always been artistic while growing up. For about 10 years, she has been painting under the instruction of Theresa Lee through the Amberleigh community in Williamsville. Saccoccia has depicted landscapes, family portraits and religious images.

Saccoccia typically works on one painting at a time, taking from two to six weeks for each one. She often uses photographs from National Geographic, which she finds interesting for its variety of cultural perspectives.

"When I do copy from a photo, I don't make it exactly," she said. "It's a jumping-off point. It's a reference, but you don't stay there. You move on. It makes it yours."

An angel painting she did was developed from a photograph she took while looking at statues in Forest Lawn Cemetery. A winter landscape was taken from a picture she liked.

"I put the sunrise in because when I would come down in the morning and look out the window, I would see the sun coming up," she said. "I really liked the orange and the yellow so I added that to the picture."

Saccoccia balances her personal artistic expression with much social parish involvement. She participates in "Christ Renews His Parish," a parochial spiritual renewal process. She said that although she was hesitant beginning the program, she immediately connected with others. A team from Christ Renews recently gave a presentation to St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda.

"They're starting the process," she said. "It's a wonderful program. Both my husband and I have been in that program a number of times. It really helps people to focus on their family, on their faith, on their Church. After you go through it, you just feel such a pull to do things at church. It is a very beautiful program. You make such good friendships."

Teaching teen Bible study is another ministry to which Saccoccia feels called.

"I went through the four-year program, Little Rock Scripture Studies, so I have my certificate," she said. "I've always been a Bible reader since my teens, so it's very exciting."

As part of the program, teens read the Bible and then respond to questions. Saccoccia said the young people always try to make it relevant to what's going on in their lives.

Saccoccia was raised Presbyterian and completed the Rite of Christian Initiation program as a mother of young children.

"After we moved here, I started listening to Catholic radio," she said. "That made a big difference. A lot of the programs were about apologetics, defending the Catholic faith. Between Ed and I, we're always over at church. St. Mary's is really our family."   

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