Here at St. Canice, the St. Joseph Guild gives Catholic men an opportunity to connect and to support the parish through time, talent, and treasure. Through fellowship, their Annual Scholarship Fund, and parish fundraisers, the St. Joseph Guild provides a great environment
for men to get to know others who share their values and beliefs, while also giving back to the parish community.
“It’s about the camaraderie and making connections,” says longtime group member Ray Sampson. “It’s a way to create positive relationships and to connect with someone who has the same views on life and religion as you do. For the parish, it’s a group of men who are dependable and willing to help as it’s needed, and it’s always great to get together and do these things for the parish.”
The St. Joseph Guild has been a part of the parish for over 40 years, and Ray has been involved for many years, including serving as president twice. In addition to regular fellowship meetings, the group also gets together for social activities such as fishing and camping trips.
“You always feel the love when you’re there,” says Ray. “You don’t get a handshake — you get a hug. It’s like you’re hanging out with your brothers for the day! It’s a lot of fun, and you get to hear some neat stories and find out how people are really doing, and you can see how you can reach out and help someone who needs it.”
The ministry also fundraises in order to serve the parish community.
“We give out a scholarship every year,” Ray says. “My wife went back to school at 40, and I realized how expensive that is! So we save up money and try to help the kids as best as we can. This year, we were able to give out a $2,500 scholarship!”
Ministry members are always willing to volunteer when the parish needs a helping hand, and the group hosts various dinner fundraisers throughout the year, including the Shrimp and Crab Feed, the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, and the St. Canice Feast Day/Columbus Day Dinner.
“We get anywhere from 150-200 people at our dinners, and it’s a lot of fun!” Ray says. “We have a nice dinner and raffles, and everyone gets to meet each other and talk. You get to see a lot of parishioners you don’t usually see because they go to Mass at different times.
“We can always use help on the floor to set the tables, help out during the dinner, and clean up after,” he adds. “By the end of the night, our guys are getting tired, so we always welcome help from the younger crowd!”
Ray first joined the St. Joseph Guild when he was in his late 20s and recalls how he was one of the youngest people in the group for a long time. Now, as one of the older members of the ministry, he encourages young men to get involved.
“We need young people and new ideas!” Ray says. “It’s great to have both older and younger people in a ministry — a lot of our guys who are retired have a lot of knowledge to pass along. You can pick their brains and get information and advice from them. It’s a great way to meet your fellow parishioners, and it’s good for the family because they can get involved, too! It’s a very open group that is always willing to welcome new people and talk to them. Our parish is a great parish, and we’ve got a good group of people, and we’d love to have you come out and join us.”
For more information about the St. Joseph Guild, please contact Ray Sampson at 530-432-5015.