Thursday, April 17, 2003

Mother left him a legacy: faith in God and church

17-year-old's goal is ministry

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Joseph Bataille Jr. and his six siblings had to cope with the sudden death of their mother in November.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
BETHEL - Joseph Bataille Jr.'s mother was his inspiration. So when Clertrude "Ke Ke" Bacour Bataille was killed last November after her car struck a deer in Clermont County, the 17-year-old's belief in God could have been shaken.

Instead, the teen known to friends as "Junior" found his answers in the faith she taught him.

"After my mother's death, my brothers and sisters and I were watching a video about Jesus. I realized the disciples weren't strong. They were weak, and it wasn't until Jesus left that they realized their own power," he said.

"It was then that I saw she was our link to God. She was always on her knees praying for us. After she left, we realized what we're capable of doing because of what she was capable of."

Now Bataille plans to honor her memory and her faith by becoming a youth minister.

This is the second of three Holy Week stories about people whose faith has helped shape their lives.
Coming Friday: A profile of Sister Barbara Hagedorn, new leader of the Delhi-based Sisters of Charity.
Holy Week began with Palm Sunday.
Today, Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday), Christians observe Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet and the Last Supper. After the meal, he went to the garden at Gethsemane.
On Good Friday, Christians remember Jesus' trial, crucifixion, death and burial.
On Holy Saturday, the Sabbath, Jesus rested in the grave.

Climbing the stairs:
From 12:01 a.m. to midnight Friday, thousands of people will climb the steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata Catholic Church in Mount Adams. Mass will be celebrated at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

"I just love the possibilities, to see a kid and know they could be anything, and they feel they can be about anything," he said. "When we get older, we start to doubt ourselves and start to rule things out."

Bataille moved to Ohio from Haiti when he was 1 year old. His father still preaches there.

Bataille, the second youngest of seven children, lives with a family from his church, Bethel United Methodist. He earns straight A's as a junior at Felicity Franklin High School.

A self-taught guitarist, he is organizing a contemporary band to play Easter Sunday. Bataille also spent his spring break with youth group members on a trip to an orphanage in Mexico.

Bataille doesn't have a trace of the Creole accent his mother spoke with. But he does have a sense of the world greater than himself and a willingness to do whatever God has planned for him.

"I'll go wherever God sends me. That's how we (our family) got here, and that's how I plan on getting to the right college," he said.


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