Living the Faith: Chuck and Anna Swain

SAUGUS -- Every Sunday, following each of the Masses at St. Margaret Parish in Saugus, parishioners are invited to socialize, catch up on the past week’s events, and get to know one another better while having snacks and coffee. All this is thanks to the organizational efforts of fellow parishioner Anna Swain, whose “mission” it is to find people willing to donate one year of their time to setting up the parish’s coffee hour.

“Every year I go around and find teams of five people who can commit one year to helping the parish out this way,” she explained. “And every year, there are people who come forward to do it.”

“There are a lot of people who are just waiting to be asked,” she added.

Anna’s husband of 27 years, Chuck Swain, joked that Anna is “a woman with a mission” when it comes to finding volunteers. However, he added that there is never a lack of parishioners willing to give their time.

“In fact,” he commented, “if someone doesn’t show up for one reason or another, people who have volunteered in the past often come forward to help out in a pinch.”

According to Anna, the parish has recently undergone several changes, not the least of which is the transition to the team ministry of Father George Morin and Father Dan McCoy.

“I feel that we have been so blessed here at St. Margaret’s that I expect to go from an exceptional parish to a highly exceptional parish with the addition of this team ministry,” she said.

“We have been blessed to have Father Morin as our leader for the past 12 years, and I know that the future holds many blessings for us as well,” she said.

For the Swains, participating in the parish socially is an important part of their lives. Together with their two teenagers -- the couple also has two children in their 30s from Chuck’s previous marriage -- they have been active members of St. Margaret’s for the past 15 years.

Though Chuck and Anna were both brought up Catholic -- he in Saugus, she in Everett -- their faith experiences differ.

“My faith has always been important to me,” Anna said. “It’s what keeps me going. Even though you may not be able to see God, you know he’s there. I feel that all the time.”

Chuck, on the other hand, said his faith was “dormant” for quite some time.

“Faith was not a priority when we first met,” he said. “I was going to church and trying to do the right thing, but there was something missing.”

That all changed when Chuck attended his first Cursillo weekend four years ago.

“Faith took on a deeper meaning,” he explained. “The Holy Spirit became much more of a presence in my life.”

Chuck is now involved in two weekly men’s groups -- one for people who have participated in Cursillo weekend, and one accountability group where men “encourage each other” to deepen their faith.

In addition to these groups, Chuck has also found himself chaperoning several parish trips with his children.

“You could say that our children have also influenced us,” he said, noting that last year the family traveled together to the Steubenville East Youth Conference, a weekend conference sponsored by the Franciscan University at the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro.

“That was extremely moving,” he recalled.

“It was life-changing for all of us, I think,” added Anna.

St. Margaret Parish, Saugus

Year established -- 1949

Team Ministry -- Father George E. Morin, Father Dan McCoy

Mid-week assistant -- Father Donald Skerry, SVD

Weekend assistants -- Father Lawrence Wetterholm, Father Vincent Cornejo

Pastoral Associate -- Gerrie Milgroom

Religious Education Director -- Carol Nadeau

Youth Minister -- Andrea Alberti

Music Director -- Ben Discipio

Website Secretary -- Corinne Riley