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Faith In Brooklyn 

The Leykam Family at the beach. Photo courtesy of Assumption Church

Posted for March 19, By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor  
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Assumption Church’s Leykam Family
Honored at St. Patrick-St. Joseph Dinner

Family is a central part of Assumption Church’s life. The entire parish considers itself a spiritual family. And this year, during the parish’s annual St. Patrick-St. Joseph Dinner Dance, the Leykam Family was honored earlier this month. The event is named for both the famous Irish missionary and saint as well as for St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, whose feast day, observed on March 19, is popular among Italians.

This family’s roots were formed at Assumption, including Heather and Chris Leykam’s courtship and marriage. Heather told the Brooklyn Eagle during the event, “I’ve been a parishioner here since before I was born!” She smiled, explaining that her grandmother was already a member of Assumption parish; and as soon as Heather was old enough to do so, they attended Sunday Mass together.

Fast forward to young adulthood: “When I graduated from college, I moved in with my grandmother and became a member of this parish.”

Heather became very active, serving first as a minister of the liturgy. She then became a Eucharistic Minister. “At the time they were getting the Millennial overturn (campaign to raise funds) that enabled them to eventually renovate the parish. I said to the pastor, who at the time was Father Michael Carrano, ‘We need to do something for the kids!’ We had just that year started our (Sunday) school, and I was helping out the catechist. I wasn’t married. This was in 2001; Sept. 11 had just happened. Thirteen years ago we did our first Christmas pageant, and that’s something that has stuck.”

Heather recalls, “My boyfriend at the time decided that this was his calling as well. He asked me to marry him. And he came into the fray. Chris is able to help out with so many of the things that Assumption was doing, and became part of the community. Chris—whereas I’m always onstage, he’s always backstage, making sets and doing things…Chris is an engineer; and he actually helped this time around figuring out the structural issues with the parish.”

The couple married at Assumption Church, with their reception taking place in the very parish hall where they were honored two weeks ago, on March 8. Chris Leykam has served for a number of years on the Assumption Pastoral Council. Their three children, Avril, Delilah and Finn (which was Heather’s maiden name) were baptized at Assumption parish.

The Leykams exemplify the spirit of loyalty and dedication of their fellow parishioners, many of them past honorees of the St. Patrick-St. Joseph Dinner Dance. Organizing two major annual successful fundraisers like this event and the parish’s Christmas Gala require much time and teamwork. And in the last two years, parish leaders point out, the monies raised have helped with the tremendous amount of work needed to repair the church from damage caused by recent hurricanes.

Assumption Church regularly holds special events as part of its ongoing ministries, for example: a senior recognition luncheon, family nights, movie nights, pot luck supper and Lenten soup supper. Moreover, Assumption participates in the rotating Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Homeless Shelter. Each January, Assumption parish hosts the shelter, providing volunteers to serve as cooks and overnight chaperones for 12-14 male guests.