Parishioner Spotlight: Dan & Kelly Garrett

I t didn’t take long for Dan and Kelly Garrett, who joined St. Peter Parish in 2007, to find their place in our faith community. While many new parishioners might “sit on the sidelines” at first, or approach active involvement with a cautious eye, the Garretts made getting involved a priority from day one.

“We were looking for ways to first strengthen our faith as a couple, and then we grew to making connections with other people,” says Kelly, explaining their motivation to become active parishioners.

As a mixed-faith couple, Dan and Kelly understood the importance of deepening their own understanding of the Catholic Faith together. In doing this at St. Peter, they experienced a wonderful side effect: the development of friendships with other couples who shared the same desire to grow in faith – something the Garretts never experienced before joining our parish.

Dan is the son of a Baptist minister; he is planning to enroll in the RCIA process and hopes to join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil next spring. As a Catholic convert-in-the making,Dan has a unique perspective on Christianity and the many ways it can be experienced. He says it was challenging when he and Kelly were married, as they discerned how they would worship as a family. Over time, Dan’s appreciation for the Catholic Faith has grown. “It’s hard to change what is so ingrained in you as a child,” he says, speaking of his Baptist upbringing. “It’s something I’m still connected to, and we go to my dad’s church when we visit family. But I don’t feel like I’m missing anything [from the Baptist church] by being a part of the Catholic Church. There’s a much greater emphasis on Church Tradition and the liturgy as Catholics – it’s much more regimented. Growing up,
my exposure led me to believe that made Catholicism less real. I’ve never felt limited in my expression of faith in the Catholic Church, though – there’s actually a great sense of peace in the Catholic liturgy because it is much more formal.”

By contrast, Kelly has been Catholic all her life, and the couple has made the decision to raise their two children – Adelyn, 4, and Dane, 22 months – in the Catholic Faith. Currently, Kelly serves the parish as a member of the Pastoral Council and a part of the parish’s new Technology Committee. She has also recently started a moms group for women with children of any age. Dan is a member of the Men’s Club, and both he and Kelly sing in the choir. Adelyn and Dane frequently accompany their parents when they sing at Mass. Dan and Kelly say their involvement in the parish has enriched their lives in many ways. Both possess a strong desire to serve others, and participation in parish ministries has offered the perfect outlet for them to do so.

“It’s a sense of doing your part, something and some way that you can contribute,” Dan says. “This faith we’re trying to live out each day, it’s real – and if it’s real, it’s going to affect our life. It’s important to share things you can do that others can’t, and then they share what they can do but you can’t.” Kelly adds, “I’m a motivated person, and if I’m going to be involved, it might as well be at a place where my faith will be strengthened at the same time as building the community.”

The Garretts have found that in order to live the Faith, one must exert some effort. Being connected to the parish in an intimate way makes it hard to be disconnected from one’s Faith. And staying connected – in the good times and the bad – is so important. “Everyone goes through a faith cycle,” Dan says. “Some times we feel really close to God, and sometimes we feel distant. For me, the act of showing up every week keeps me coming
back during times when there’s a lull. The physical presence sets the stage for faith development – if your body is at church, your mind will go too!”

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