“What better way to begin the day than in God’s house with God’s people?” Juanita Pratt says of the Morning Prayer service at St. Michael’s, 7:45 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on Saturdays. Juanita conducts the Friday service.
One of eight children, Juanita grew up in South Carolina in a rural community. The church was the heart of that community. Her father was superintendent of the Sunday school, and her mother a teacher of an adult Sunday School class.
Few jobs existed in the area. Juanita’s parents encouraged the children to seek opportunity elsewhere. So Juanita came to New York to live with her Aunt Mary.
Juanita worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years and retired in 1997 to become a full-time caregiver for her husband Harry after an operation left him a paraplegic.
Juanita and Harry were confirmed at St. Ignatius in 1991. A subsequent meeting with Father Miller led them to St. Michael’s. On their first Sunday they were greeted by our parishioner Edgar Dawson.
“I could feel the openness, warmth and welcome as we entered the church,” Juanita recalls.
In addition to her Morning Prayer leadership, Juanita is a member of the Altar Guild, a Healing Prayer Minister, a Lay Eucharistic Visitor, a member of the Prayer Chain and Knitwits groups, and a participant in Education for Ministry.
Juanita values how many different kinds of parishioners attend St. Michael’s. “But I have a different take on diversity,” she says. “My parents taught us to see people as people — and not the color of their skin.”