December 17, 2011

West Sider on mission to Russia with love

Good Morning

West Sider on mission to Russia with love

Anyone who knows West Side resident Marilyn Wassmer can attest to her big smile and love of family.

One of her great passions in life is supporting her brother, the Rev. Myron Effing, who serves in the diocese of Vladivostok, Russia, a city of 600,000 people sitting at the head of Golden Horn Bay, not far from China and North Korea.

Wassmer, who is just a year younger than her brother, remembers saying the rosary with her siblings and praying for the children of Russia.

At 5, Myron asked their parents, Henry and Leota Effing, for a globe so he could see where Russia was, and know what the prayer meant. Ordainedin1972,Effinghasbeen at the helm of a remarkable change in the poverty-stricken city. According to his sister, Communists
had taken over the 15,000-member Mary Mother of God Cathedral for use as the Russian State Archives. Under Effing’s direction, the cathedral was renovated to its original use and grandeur.

When Effing first went to Russia in 1992, he said the first Mass on the steps of this church in over 60 years. The rededicated cathedral opened in 1994.

“Because of the poverty level, the church started a charity organization. They feed the homeless, abandoned and elderly, run a daily soup kitchen, operate crisis pregnancy centers, support orphanage, and host (Alcoholics Anonymous) and Al-Anon,” said Wassmer. “A high percentage of Russian marriages fail, and the church is there to offer needed services to the people of Vladivostok.”

Effing has also helped to establish
11 additional parishes in the Siberian city.

Wassmer informally shares her brother’s mission with everyone she meets; she also speaks to parishes about the mission. She has been all over the state and gave mission talks in nine different parishes last summer.

“I love to volunteer for the mission, and I love speaking to people about it. It’s a fabulous story, and you meet so many interesting people,” she said.

Wassmer and Effing and their other siblings, Marlene Hasselbrinck and Merle Effing, are all Mater Dei High School graduates. Wassmer and her husband, Donald, have two sons and three grandchildren. She is a member of Resurrection Catholic Church and a retired certified dietary manager who served at Good
Shepherd Catholic School.

Effing graduated from the University of Evansville; he also helped build the first telescope at the Evansville Museum as part of the Evansville Astronomy Club. He taught astronomy and physics for many years, but when communism fell, his heart led him to follow his boyhood dreams to Russia, “Everybody should know about the mission in Vladivostok,” his proud sister said, “Father Effing is one of our own. And he is doing amazing work. How awesome is that!”

If you are interested in more information about the missions in Vladivostok, call Wassmer at 812-985-3261 or visit www.vlad

Amy Abbott, .


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