Faith Alive: Susan Ferzoco

byDonis Tracy Pilot Correspondent

Susan Ferzoco, pictured with her nieces and nephew: Natalie, Nicole and David Ferzoco, who are also her religious education students. Pilot photo/ Courtesy Susan Ferzoco

MILLIS -- When I was little, I thought St. Thomas was what heaven looked like, Susan Ferzoco said pensively.

Ferzoco, 50, has always been a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle and would have it no other way.

Someone made a comment to me recently that they were a recovering Catholic, she said. Well, Im a practicing Catholic, and I choose to be Catholic because I believe in Christ; I believe in his message; and I believe its a good way to live.

This conviction has led her to teach not just one, but three religious education classes --one for each of her nieces and nephew. Never married and with no children of her own, Ferzoco feels called to instruct her nephew and nieces in the faith.

I feel that its important that the children get the old-fashioned Catholic education that I received when I was a child, she explained. There are just certain fundamentals that are very important.

Ferzoco believes that these fundamentals of Catholic education, which were taught to all the children who grew up at St. Thomas the Apostle, have led to an abundance of vocations.

According to Ferzoco, three of her childhood friends are now priests of the archdiocese, and another parishioner has recently been ordained to the priesthood, which is unbelievable when you consider that Millis is such a small town, she stressed.

Growing up, Ferzocos family, as well as many other parish families, always stressed the importance of their faith.

Our faith was a source of strength in difficult times, and a source of joy in good times, she said, adding that whenever there was a major milestone -- positive or negative -- her family would turn to the Church.

When my father died, we went to church. When there was a birth in the family, we thanked God at church, she said. It was, and still is, a very big part of who I am.

However, Ferzoco admits that occasionally she has taken her faith for granted, and that she has had to struggle when she has had to overcome obstacles in her life, but she sees that faith, for her is a constantly changing, growing thing that has to be constantly nourished.

Sometimes youre more focused and sometimes youre not ... but youre still there, youre still getting something out of going to church -- even if you dont realize it, she said. Im proud to be a Catholic.

St. Thomas the Apostle, Millis

Year Established -- 1937

Pastor -- Father Henry Chambers

Religious Education Directors --

Dorothy Shulman and Marie Pozniak

Music Director -- Terrence Kerr

Parish Secretary -- Cheryl Cross