South Laurel pastor celebrates retirement

Montpelier/South Laurel

July 07, 2011

St. Nicholas Catholic Church parishioners bid farewell and wished a happy retirement to their pastor, the Rev. Jim Betz, at a church reception June 23. Father Betz has been with the parish for six years, having previously served as pastor at Ascension Parish, in Bowie.

Prior to becoming a priest, Betz spent many years in the construction business, and his expertise in this field helped smooth the way for the repairs and additions to the church. These initiatives included completion of the church sanctuary and altar; easing access to handicap entrances; repaving the parking lots; repairing the church roof; and remodeling the church kitchen, which is used extensively for parish events.

Margaret Bechtold, chair of the Parish Council and a member of the parish for many years, mentioned that in addition to all of these projects, "he was known to always be ready to meet with parishioners and to hear confessions." She also noted that he has chosen to retire to "an apartment close to the church so he can continue to serve as needed."

Marion Gould, who has been Betz's secretary, stated that he is "a very wonderful and caring person and a supportive boss who is quick to show appreciation for his staff. I am certainly going to miss him but am happy that he will have some time to enjoy himself and to play golf again."

The Rev. Frank Gignac, a Jesuit priest affiliated with Catholic University, who regularly says Mass at St. Nicholas, remarked on "how courageously Jim coped with manifold health problems over the past couple of years" and notes that this did not keep him from serving the needs of his flock.

In addition, Betz provided care for another priest, the Rev. Sam Craig, when the latter was in his final illness.

Members of St. Nicholas parish, as well as from his former parish, in Bowie, joined Betz at the reception to thank him for his years of service and to wish him Godspeed.

Longtime Bedford resident Maggi Kammarman certainly has a lot to be proud of in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. For starters, granddaughter, Elyssa Bellofatto, daughter of Marcie and Perry, was one of only seven students in her middle school to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Elyssa was the only sixth-grader to be so honored.

Maggi and her husband, Marc, were among the original owners of homes on their Bedford cul-de-sac in 1973. Since then, the neighbors have watched Marcie grow up and become the mom to three beautiful children. Marcie's brother, Michael, is now press officer for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, brother, David, is director of soccer operations for the LA Galaxy. Guess their experiences in local soccer teams really paid off!

Speaking of soccer, be sure to check out the opportunities offered by the Greater Laurel United Soccer Club. Montpelier resident Steve Haversack coordinates club activities, which include teams for boys and girls ages 6 to 16. Registration is now open for the fall season. More information can be obtained by contacting Steve at

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