Saint Francis
of Assisi
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outstretched arms Why—and How They Volunteer in Ministry at St. Francis

As members of our parish community consider how God is calling them to fuller participation in the life of our parish, sharing your experience and encouragement will be helpful to them—in their feeling welcome, in knowing that they're invited—we minister together. Please share about your experience of service at St. Francis—about the ministry, the commitment, how you got involved, and how God is blessing you through this commitment. We will share your story in our parish publications.

We invite you to submit your own response below.

  • Online Form:
    Complete and Submit the online Survey Form

  • eMail:
    Send an email to

  • US Mail:
    Download and Print the Survey PDF icon

    Complete and Mail the survey to the parish office:
        J.D. Warrick
        St. Francis of Assisi Parish
        1066 26th Street
        Sacramento, CA 95816

Read Responses to Survey

Below are some of the responses we received to our survey of why and how people volunteer at St. Francis. We will continue to post more responses to this page in the future.

I am a Eucharistic Minister, a Step Minister and serve on the Parish Council. In my professional life, it's my privilege to work with the poor, so being a Step Minister was an easy transition for me. However, becoming a Eucharistic Minister was a big step out of my comfort zone. Like many people considering this ministry, I had a lot of doubts about whether or not I was a good enough person to be an EM. If you are having similar doubts—well, just let all that go! Being an EM is about serving God and serving each other—and just like at any family dinner, everyone is welcome to help.

I have to admit that running for Parish Council was pretty scary. When I saw my picture in the bulletin with the other candidates, I had a major "what were you thinking?" moment! Then something completely unexpected happened: other parishioners, people I didn't even know, came up and thanked me for running. It was both comforting and humbling, and really speaks to what makes this parish community so special. I've only been on the Council for a short time, but I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve the parish.

Whatever ministry you're drawn to, my advice is take the leap and give it a try—even if it's a little scary at first. You will receive much more than you give, the people training you will absolutely be friendly and welcoming, and you will never regret it!"

— Margaret Healey


I volunteered at the steps program for a couple of years and gained such insight by getting to know those in need on a personal level. Serving those in need gives any day a silver lining and provides us with purpose. I look forward to returning as a volunteer in the near future.

— Justin Lehr


Each time I shared the Eucharist with the parish family, I was touched by the participation of all, each of us approaching the bread and cup with reverence. Now, as a Eucharistic Minister and Team Leader, I experience the Christ in each of us and in all of us. I always come away energized by the enlivening Spirit that embraces us all.

— Sue Kenney


I love being a greeter/usher I started about 2003 after being asked by another greeter if I'd like to help give out bulletins at the side door. I really enjoy welcoming everyone to St. Francis and have come to know so many wonderful people, mostly at the 5:15 Mass.

Over the years, handing out the bulletins and putting them back together with song sheets after Mass evolved to include choosing the gift bearers, making sure we have enough collectors, helping collect the Francis House monthly collection, getting hearing devices for those who need them, helping people who have become sick during Mass, directing people to all kinds of places around the church, and hanging out with some of our homeless guests in the back of the church. Everyone is so friendly at St. Francis that it makes this ministry easy to be friendly and welcoming to all! Please join us in helping with this ministry on Saturdays at 5:15.

— Suzi Ettin


I have been working with the children of St. Francis parish for the past 13 years. I was originally asked to help in the nursery once a month when my oldest daughter was only one. Throughout the years I have enjoyed preparing children for First communion and Confirmation and helping to develop our middle school program.

My newest joy is helping to grow the Youth Ministries in our parish. I'm grateful to the parish for supporting my education to become a certified youth minister. I love representing St. Francis and facilitating our connections with other youth ministries in our diocese. There is an abundance of support that has been given to me from both our parish and our diocese as I walk this journey. It's so rewarding to see our youth have a greater presence in our parish and I'm so happy to be a part of a welcoming and supportive parish.

— Traci Bean


About Their Spiritual Journey - From the Pews: Submit Your Creative Work
outstretched hands

The St. Francis Parish Communications Committee of the Parish Council invites you to submit your own creative work–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, artwork--related to your spiritual journey for possible inclusion in a new feature called, “From the Pews” that will appear in parish publications.

For reasons of space, we ask that submissions be no longer than 500 words. All work will be reviewed and may be edited by the Communications Committee for space or clarity.

More information:

About Their Future Vision

A New Century's Resolution

In high school, I learned one of the great truths of physical science: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I found St. Francis Parish when I was a relatively new Sacramentan about 15 years ago. I coasted for awhile—enjoying the vibrant liturgies, but choosing to remain anonymous. I didn't want to get involved. Then, in 2001, my life partner died. I felt as though I had died, too, until I discovered the grief support group. It took an amazing amount of courage to walk through that door the first time. In St. Clare's Chapel, I laid my pain on the altar and the healing began. I was loved without judgment. Thanks to that group, and especially the volunteer leadership, I came out of my personal "valley of the shadow of death" and returned to the light. I also left the valley of anonymity behind. How could I remain only a taker when the church and her people had given me so much?

I remain friends with many in the support group, and those associations have led to my meeting countless new people and getting involved with a number of ministries. This reminds me of another truth, but this one I learned in Sunday School: We can' out-give God. No matter what or how much I do, God always blesses me more than the sum of my contributions. This is one of God's promises to his children, but how much greater the blessings are when they come upon me as I stand deeply rooted in the fertile soil of St. Francis Parish.

The action that changed my life and my faith was the death of my partner. Until recently, I thought the equal reaction was the blessings I had realized since getting involved. But God had an unexpected bonus waiting for me. Who knew my being the MC at our centennial dinner dance in February would lead to me making a new friend, and that friend would become my new life partner? Once again, I was unable to out-give God.

So what does the St. Francis Centennial mean to me? It's a time of endings as we turn memories of our past 100 years over to the annals of history. But it's also a time of great beginnings as we march into a new century of ministry, service and love. I would encourage everyone to make a new century's resolution to step more fully into the host of ministries and services offered at St. Francis. Become a minister yourself, or allow a fellow parishioner to minister to you and your areas of need. I guarantee God will bless you richly. Who knows? You might just make a new friend in the process.

     — Clayton Whitehead


Where Are We Going?

While I was sitting at my desk reflecting on "100 years done .... Where are we going in the next hundred?" three seniors in the Jesuit High Liturgy Class came in to interview me on my faith development and the journey that brought me to where I am now. God's divine intervention for sure!

What a great time reflecting on St. Francis Parish! I love St. Francis Parish. I love the fact that we take social ministry seriously. I love that we welcome all people no matter age, stage, or circumstance. I love that the Eucharist is truly celebrated. After I spoke about everything that I love, especially how I love starting my Sundays with the 7:30 community, I was asked where I think the Church should go in the future. So, instead of looking at the Roman Catholic Church, I looked at St. Francis.

Let us keep reaching out to people, inviting them to be a part of our community. If we invite, people have the opportunity to say yes. Let us continue looking for Christ in the midst of our community. If we look for Christ, we will see those we need to feed, shelter, clothe, and befriend. Let us continue honoring the Word of God and the Eucharist. It is in the Word and the Eucharist that we are strengthened and challenged to be Christ for one another.

As a parish community, we need to continue taking ownership in our faith. What do we need to do?

  • Build upon the contributions of all those who went before us at St. Francis ... people like Fran and Stan Brozek and the welcoming love they shared with all.

  • Continue challenging ourselves so that we do not become complacent in our ways.

  • Be people of faith and encouragement for those coming into the Church through the RCIA.

  • Keep our eyes on Christ, knowing that we are a part of the Body of Christ.

  • Remember that we are an important part of the Body of Christ.

  • Remember that we are an important part of the body in the Sacramento Diocese in the Roman Catholic Community.

I love St. Francis Parish ... the community, the liturgy, the ministries, and the openness. Let us continue growing as a part of the Body of Christ, doing good works and spreading the Gospel message through our actions. Let us keep the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi alive!

     — Paul LeBoeuf


Setting Aside Fear

My vision for the future of St. Francis of Assisi Parish is as rich as its present.

We will find our voices to speak of what matters to us and through that we will learn from each other how we each hear God's call, some through rich, textured liturgy, some through the beauty of the building itself, some through ministries to the poor, some through social activities and some through the humanity shown by someone sharing the pew.

I see us bridging the gaps between our Parish life and that of other faith communities. I see us providing a context in which young people feel safe to ask questions and speak of faith. I see a community that secures a place of belonging as people grow old.

Beyond our corner at 26th & K, I envision parishioners effecting change — in policies to end homelessness, in treatment of the disenfranchised, in protection of the environment, in the rights of all persons to love whom they do and in the recognition that women belong in church hierarchy.

We will do this by sharing our stories and offering the gifts of our talents. We will do this by setting aside fear that can cripple our intentions. We will do this by daring to live the radically good news of Jesus.

     — Janet Vitt


"Because" God Loves Us...

I hope that the St. Francis Parish community will continue to welcome all to gather to celebrate the joy of the Lord. May we continue to be a community that gathers together "because" God loves us rather than "so that" God will love us — where Christ's yoke is easy, and his burden light because it is borne in love.

     — Nora Sanguinetti


Prayer for the Next 100 Years

I believe that St. Francis Parish lives up to "The Prayer of St. Francis:"

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

In the past ten years I have witnessed each line of this prayer lived out by fellow parishioners. Having lost one kidney through cancer and worried about a suspicious x-ray regarding my other kidney—and my husband having just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, I was crying when I came to St. Francis. I was welcomed with big hugs — like a family member, with tender loving care. And now I feel called to be the same welcoming person. ... My prayer for the next 100 years is that St. Francis continues to have the same Mission Statement — that "ALL ARE WELCOME," and that the same prayer is lived out in The Body of Christ.

     — Jackie Mikesell


Youth Perspective

I hope St. Francis stays the same! It is such a great church. I would never, ever, ever think of switching parishes despite the travel from Elk Grove. Everyone is so welcoming, warm, and nice. It is such a great place to worship our Lord.

     — Sam Schliekelman-Watson

In the next century I hope that St. Francis doesn't change. I look forward to the continued hospitality and open-mindedness that exists in our parish today. I also hope that it will remain the place where all can go to worship God as one family.

     — Noelle Schliekelman-Watson


Amid Change...

Since 2006 I have been drafting a Web site History of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, which to date covers c1894 to c1940; the completed history will be 14 chapters taking the story of our parish to 2010, decade by decade. So much has changed in the hundred years of our church building, 1908 to 2008! The changes we have experienced in just this first decade of the 21st Century are incredible — the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the near collapse of the United States and world economy beginning in 2008, from which we are only now beginning to recover; the seeming interminable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to list only a few examples.

I came to the Centennial Celebration in early 2006, a few months after its inception, and much work had already been done. During the next three years, membership on the committee and chairmanship of the committee changed — some stepped down, but others stepped up. At times, I confess I, like Pewter on the Sea of Galilee, lacked faith, fearing that our enterprise was foundering. But at each turn parishioners volunteered to take on new roles — and others stepped up to assume new tasks.

This spirit of volunteerism and service in our St. Francis of Assisi Parish community, I trust, will continue on into the future — enduring through our second century. This, plus the Franciscan Spirituality that pervades our parish life, will serve us well in the coming century — serve St. Francis of Assisi Parish and, I submit, would serve as well in resolving many of the larger challenges facing our state, our nation and the peoples of the world.

     — Gregg Campbell

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