When we come to church to celebrate Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. The depth of each Mass, the power of each Mass, cannot be overstated. It is the central act of worship for us as Catholic Christians — the most powerful prayer we can pray. Every time a Mass is celebrated, all the angels and saints join in that act of praise. It is a literal meeting of heaven and earth. And it was with all of that in mind that we built our church building five years ago when we moved our parish from downtown.
“We combined two parishes, and we needed more space,” says Karen Bisges, the head of our parish’s Ambassador Ministry. “And the building of the structure was very thought out. It’s as if everything about our church building brings your eyes to heaven.”
Karen believes that it is because the church building was built with such forethought and its architecture showcases such heavenly beauty, that many Stillwater residents — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — are curious about the treasure we have here at St. Francis Xavier.
“There is nothing else like our church building around,” Karen says. “It stands out. And many people will come in asking ‘What is this place?’ In fact, many people confuse us for a cathedral because the church is so beautiful.”
It’s not just the outside of the church that speaks to people. Karen says that many people have told her that immediately upon entering, the placement and shape of the narthex invite them to come in further, to explore deeper, and to find out more.
“Then, they walk into the nave of the church, and it is so open and airy,” she says. “There are statues all around. Many people are left wondering — not only about our church building but about our Catholic faith.”
So, shortly after the church construction was completed, upon recognizing so much interest from the public, we established the Ambassador Ministry. It is a ministry of parishioner volunteers who offer tours of our church to anyone interested.
“Joe Haney was at the forefront of this ministry’s inception,” Karen says. “I inherited it after I started working here at the parish.”
What Karen has witnessed since serving on the Ambassador Ministry has been awe-inspiring and faith-affirming even for her.
“There is so much curiosity around our church,” Karen says. “People come in and cannot stop asking questions. They ask about the statues and what we believe. They ask about the shape of the structure and why it was built this way. It has ignited my own curiosity for the faith.”
The Ambassador Ministry welcomes many different types of people on their tours. Some come with a large group and some request individual tours. And sometimes people just wander in out of curiosity, and if it is possible they are given a tour.
“This ministry has been such a wonderful tool of evangelization,” Karen says. “You can see the awe in people’s eyes as they look around. It is such a blessing to be able to show our faith in this way.”
Karen invites anyone interested in evangelizing in this way to join the ministry.
“You do not have to know everything,” she says. “I have a binder in my office with all the information for you.”
Interested parties call the office and request a tour. Karen then sends out a message to all of the ambassadors asking who is available to offer the tour on the particular day and time it has been scheduled, and the ambassadors do so.
“It is a simple ministry with such an incredible impact,” Karen says. “Don’t be hesitant to join us. Ambassadors are welcome to look through the binder whenever they’d like. They can even take it with them on their tours or make copies to bring home.”
So don’t feel as though you need a degree in church architecture to serve — that couldn’t be further from the truth! Christ is using this ministry to speak the truth of our faith to so many, and being a part of that plan is a gift! Don’t miss out!
If you are interested in joining the Ambassador Ministry, contact Karen Bisges at the parish office, 405-372-6886.