When Thomas Jindra (MBA ’73)was young, children weren’t allowed to attend the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at his Cleveland, Ohio, church. Despite that dictum, when Jindra was in eighth grade, his father, Andrew, snuck him in because he wanted his son to take part in a family tradition. Years earlier, Jindra’s grandfather had gone to Mass and then spent Christmas Day delivering presents and visiting with patients at a local hospital. A family legacy was born.
That family model of service, along with Jindra’s experiences as an altar boy and Boy Scout, went a long way in shaping Jindra as a man with a servant’s heart. Now a resident of Riverside, California, Jindra is blessed with a rigorous career in the aeronautics industry, working as a supply chain specialist at the Boeing Company. But he still makes time to serve.
He’s completely immersed in the life of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Riverside, where he helped jump start a parish council that has led to the formation of 63 ministries.
“I really understand the parable of the mustard seed, where something so tiny grows into something so huge,” he says. “It’s the Holy Spirit working in the church.” He personally has done everything from bagging brown-bag lunches for the food bank to
subbing in Sunday School classes, to serving for 34 years as a Eucharistic minister bringing Communion to the homebound.
It is this last activity that reminds him most of making the rounds on Christmas Day with his father. In fact, when his children were old enough, he brought them along, continuing and growing the family tradition of service.
Christmas 2016 marks the 100th year anniversary of those Jindra family Christmas Days — a practice that Jindra’s brother kept alive in Cleveland. Next year, Jindra hopes to spend Christmas back in Cleveland, attending Midnight Mass (although he no longer has to sneak in) and visiting the sick. Says he, “I’ve been so blessed with a life of service.”