Being immersed in the community of our parish isn’t just a part of Jenna Danos’ life — for her, it is a way of life. Jenna’s family joined the parish when she was 8 years old and ever since, St. Rita’s has been her home parish through many different seasons of life.
“I have seen how this parish has grown and expanded over the years,” Jenna says. “I was confirmed here, Stew and I got married here, and both of our children were baptized here.”
Jenna’s family served as an example of the importance of being involved in the parish. They were a part of the music ministry, the liturgical ministries, catechesis, RCIA, and prison ministry. When Jenna attended college, it was a big shock to be on a campus with 50,000 people.
“I remember after my parents dropped me off, I had the realization of how alone I was,” she says. “So I immediately went to the place I knew I could always call home — the church. I started attending Mass daily and getting involved in every activity at the Catholic Student Center. I made friends who became like family to me, who challenged me in my faith and helped me grow closer to the Lord.”
Her experiences in leadership roles and retreat teams led her to the realization that she wanted to serve others and help provide opportunities for other people to encounter Jesus and grow in community. Her experiences at college had made her faith her own and she wanted to share the love of God with others.
“I remember being on a retreat leadership team in college,” Jenna says. “While I was busy juggling my work on the retreat with classes and studying, I remember thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if all I had to focus on was my work at the church?’ Now, years later, I get to do just that! What an amazing opportunity I’ve been blessed with to serve the people at St. Rita’s.”
Jenna has been serving on the Parish Leadership Team and working for the parish for five years. Her current role as Director of Parish Mission means that she oversees all of the programming and ministries in the parish. Serving as a part of the Parish Leadership Team is another aspect where she works with the rest of the team to help Fr. Michael handle the day-to-day operations, long-term planning, and everything in between. Jenna’s husband, Stew, is also a part of the Parish Leadership Team as well as working as the Parish Administrator.
“I have always been involved in the community at St. Rita’s as a parishioner and volunteer,” Jenna says. “I love that I get to know parishioners and families so much more closely. I love getting to walk with parishioners and families through their faith journey, particularly in preparation for the reception of sacraments. To be a witness of the joy
and grace that is received
and to get to celebrate with them is always such an amazing experience!”
We were created for relationship and community, and Jenna’s witness of how lives are changed when we are involved in the parish community is a beautiful example of how God calls us to use our talents and gifts to serve others wherever we are.