Rose Narciso Courtesy photo/ Rose Narciso
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WAYLAND -- For years, Rose Narciso was content to attend Mass at St. Ann Parish every Sunday, drop her children off at religious education and not be much more involved in her parish than that.
All that changed during the reconfiguration process.
“Our family’s active involvement in the parish really started when our parish was on the chopping block,” she confessed. “As the parish was about to close...it made us ask ourselves, what does it mean to be a parishioner here?”
Together with her husband Antonio, the couple decided that the entire family should become more involved in the parish.
As a result, Narciso, 45, and her husband now teach religious education; she is a member of the parish pastoral council and helps coordinate a Liturgy of the Word for children, just to name a few of their volunteer activities.
“Basically, whatever you need, if I know how to do it and I have the time, I’ll do it,” she said laughing.
Her children, ages 10 and 8, have also become active parishioners -- the older one is an altar server and the younger is considering following in his footsteps.
And the blessings just keep pouring in, Narciso said.
“What we as a family never expected is that we have received graces far above and beyond what we have given,” she said.
Her faith is stronger, but even more surprising to her, her family is much stronger because of the parish involvement.
“So many times there’s a disconnect between life and religion,” she said. “What has happened is that now we do not live life on one side and Church on the other, but there’s a kind of integration.”
“There’s a unity of life between school and family and Church,” she added.
“People tend to live these separated lives, but the more integrated the life, the fuller life is,” she stated.
This unity is something Narciso wishes others would discover. Unfortunately, “there’s only a small group of active and committed parishioners,” lamented Narciso.
“We would love for everyone else to love their faith and share it,” she continued, adding that “there’s a part of me that feels that we have to try to get others involved.”
A native of the Philippines, Narciso has been a parishioner at St. Ann’s for seven years.
Narciso praised her current pastor, Father James Laughlin, for his energy and the devotion he has to his faith. According to Narciso, “Father James took the place of two men -- the pastor and his associate -- and the parish has not cut back on anything.”
“We’re just afraid he’s going to burn himself out,” she said.
“It’s very clear to me that [parish involvement] is a call to the laity and not just to the parish staff,” she said. “The life of the parish is really in the hands of the parishioners,” she said. Narciso believes that all too often there is an “unfair expectation” that the pastor or parish staff must be responsible for all the events of the parish.
Besides, she said, “the blessings we have received are just too many to mention.”
“I cannot even begin to describe the many blessings we have received just by taking that first step and volunteering our time. I just wish it on other people,” she said.