Rick – Grapevine, TX
When I graduated High School in Haverhill, Mass. in 1964 and left home to join the U.S. Air Force, I told myself that my Mom couldn’t make me go to Mass any longer. However, once I encountered boot-camp, I realized that no one, short of God, could get me through that ordeal. The very first Sunday away from home found me, once again, at Mass. The first time in my life I recognized my reliance on the saving grace that God had in my life.
I met Beth at Webb Air Force Base, in Big Spring, Texas in 1965, my first permanent base after boot camp, where I volunteered to be an usher at the base chapel. She was the daughter of an Air Force Sergeant and an irregular participant in Mass and church activities. To date, I still believe that it was part of God’s plan for us to meet and eventually marry in the Base Chapel at that base. When I left the Air Force, I found a job at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, which kept me in Texas. A great decision, undoubtedly guided by God, because Beth accepted my request to marry her.
In the early years of our marriage, my bride and & I had drifted from the Church. However, once we had our first daughter, and well after she was baptized, we had the desire to have her enter into a religious education program. That was when we decided to return to the Church and began looking for a parish home. We found a small wood-frame Catholic Church on Northwest Highway in Grapevine that looked appealing. We went to Mass one time and asked to have a few minutes with the pastor, Fr. B. He spent more than hour with us; and after that hour, we were hooked. St Francis was our home; and has been ever since.
Though there were no openings for our daughter in the existing Religious education classes that year, there was a need for an assistant Religious Education teacher, Beth volunteered, our daughter was accepted, and that is what got us started. The following year, the lead teacher moved on and Beth wanted to continue teaching and asked me to assist her …..26 years later, we finally retired from teaching together; a truly rewarding experience for both of us.
During the past 40 years, we found ourselves involved in Choir, me as an usher and Eucharistic minister, both of us as a Baptism Prep couple, sponsors for engaged couples, Community Fest volunteers, the diocesan “All Things Possible” campaign, etc.
The bottom line is that, our parish, St. Francis of Assisi Church, has a special way of welcoming people to its various ministries in a manner that makes one want to be a participant, even though you may doubt that you have the time or talent. I believe God makes that request; each of us just has to make the decision to say “yes”.
During our 40+ years at St. Francis, we didn’t actively look for ministries to get involved in, God decided what we would do and we accepted His call. Our parish family welcomes everyone to listen to God’s word and request for service. We listened and accepted. We sincerely hope our fellow parishioners hear the same request and respond with the same “yes” that we did.
Since our beginning in 1976, we have had several pastors; but the one constant for us was the feeling that St. Francis was family, where we feel we belong, where we desire to contribute. This is a unique parish; one that has kept us eager to do what we can to help and to encourage our fellow parishioners to get involved.
There is no place like St. Francis.