Faith in Action

Witness to Hope
Mary Kay Mcpartlin | Photography by Tom Gennara
July, 2016

Mary Beth and John are ready to engage in new campaign

From providing assistance to diocesan and parish evangelization efforts to supporting Catholic education and everything in between, Mary Beth and John Pirich are excited about a new way to engage their Catholic faith.

“It’s a very comprehensive proposal and program,” says John. “We’ve always been a family of faith, and our faith is intertwined in our life on a daily basis. We believe in the message of Jesus Christ.”

Mary Beth sees an opportunity to witness her faith through support of the Witness to Hope diocesan campaign. It provides tangible means to grow more faithful, which is important to her as an individual, as well as to her family as a whole.

“We are not afraid to speak out,” Mary Beth says.

As active members of the intertwined parishes of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Student Center in East Lansing, Mary Beth and John are witness to the growth of faith from early childhood to young adulthood.

“Our church is very vibrant and our priests are so accessible. There’s a strong sense of community,” says Mary Beth. She enjoys seeing the college students’ enthusiasm about their parish. “It’s a key time for young people to decide which way they want to go with their faith. To see them get engaged when they are freshmen is inspiring. A lot of people come back here to get married because they say this is when their faith took hold. That’s pretty dynamic to see.”

“I’m a regular reader at St. Johns. We have Tuesday and Thursday night Masses,” John says. “To see the number of college students who attend these Masses is really exciting. Senior adults from St. Thomas Aquinas are engaged working with students from elementary to college age. It’s all part of evangelization. We just have this tremendous outreach.”

Parish life may be the heart of the family’s faith, but their desire to do Christ’s work spreads beyond their parish, as they care for Catholics and non-Catholics within the community. Mary Beth volunteers with St. Vincent Catholic Charities, and works with disadvantaged youth. Many of the children are wards of the state, and most are not Catholic.

“Mary Beth does a lot of work at St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ home on the west side of Lansing. It’s amazing to see faith in action,” says John. “I think most of the parishes throughout the diocese have a similar experience. It’s exciting to see the impact our faith is having in our diocese and within our state.”

“To whom much is given much is expected,” Mary Beth says. “We’ve been very, very blessed, and we know whom it came from.”

John and Mary Beth are excited to share their excitement with others in the diocese on this new way of thinking about diocesan support.

“To ask people to reach into their resources for this kind of effort is incredibly important because we have a tremendous opportunity,” says John. “We think the Catholic faith is the best way to accomplish the goals of this campaign. We’re asked to do it every day and not episodically. We do things by actions and deeds and not by words alone. We’re going to lead by example. We need everyone who can participate to participate. The benefit is going to happen over a long period of time.”

“This is so easy. You can just jump in,” Mary Beth says. “The pope is calling us to this kind of mission. Our bishop is calling us to this kind of mission. They are making it happen. It’s simple. If everyone could just give something, as opposed to just a few leaders in the community giving a lot, we would consider that a success.”