Everyday Heroes

A special bond

The remarkable thing wasn’t the singing – although it was great – or the terrific turnout. It was the honoree. Feb. 5 at the First Annual Celebration and Mass Commemorating Black History Month at Holy Name Church in Cincinnati, the star was parishioner Roberta Tolliver, a lifelong Catholic and a regular churchgoer at the age of 103. "Her life speaks the joy of fidelity to faith," Pastor Bill Ollendick wrote in a booklet prepared for the event.

"We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe" was the theme of a program hosted by TV-5 anchor Courtis Fuller and featuring a Mass with music provided by the Holy Name Choir and the OAACM Choir of the Office of African American Catholic Ministries. FR. Bill welcomed guests with, "We may be a small parish but we are mighty. I hope that when you leave, you leave with a smile on your face and a song in your heart." Even with VIP attendees like David Mann, the Vice-Mayor of Cincinnati, the spotlight shone brightly on Roberta.

According to Fr. Bill, she is "a beautiful woman. She lives by herself and does everything a 60-year-old would do. If she sees trash on the street in front of her apartment, she picks it up. I told her, ‘You’re an inspiration not just to the parish, but to me.'"