Malissa Briggler felt driven to become more involved in parish life so that she could connect with other faith community members. Before becoming Catholic, she attended a small rural church with a thriving sense of fellowship and regular carry-in dinners. She knew the importance of fellowship.
“Being involved in parish life is essential for me,” Malissa says. “Together we can help support each other and be a stronger parish, and it takes more than attending Mass to get to know each other like that.”
Different paths brought Malissa and Jeff Briggler to the Cathedral of St. Joseph where they were married on Feb. 7, 2015. Jeff had moved to Jefferson City in 2000 and attended several different Catholic churches when he was new to the area.
“Truthfully my first impression of the Cathedral was that it was rather plain compared to the cathedrals I had visited in the past,” Jeff says. “But it was the closest church to my apartment building and the early 7 a.m. Mass was an attractive draw.”
Malissa grew up attending the First United Methodist Church with her grandmother and cousins and didn’t know much about the Catholic Church.
In 2003, Malissa married her high school sweetheart, Aaron. When it was time for them to start thinking about where their little girl would go to school, Aaron felt that the Catholic education he received in high school was the best choice.
“I started looking into Catholic schools and learning more about the faith,” Malissa says. “About the same time, Aaron was diagnosed with a rare aggressive type of cancer. We made the decision to enroll our daughter in the preschool program at St. Joseph Cathedral School. Aaron passed away in May 2012, and Clara began school that fall.”
As Clara attended Catholic school, Malissa was encouraged to learn more about the faith. About a year after Aaron’s passing, Malissa began dating Jeff, who had been raised in a large, devoutly Catholic family.
“It became even more intriguing to me to learn about Catholicism, and in the fall of 2013, I joined the RCIA program,” Malissa says. “The intent was not to become Catholic, but to simply learn more, but that’s all it took. I joined the Church, and Clara was baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2014.”
Jeff and Malissa first met at work where she had been hired as the State Botanist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and he was already working as the State Herpetologist for MDC. They still serve in these capacities today.
“We were sort of set up by a dear friend at work, and we still work with her too,” Malissa says. “I didn’t think it was a good idea at first, but it didn’t take long for that to change! After we were married, we welcomed our daughter Mary in 2016 and then Sam in 2017.”
From the beginning, Malissa and Jeff have tried to be involved with the school and with the Cathedral, believing that it is important to be active in both. Together they have served as greeters, and this year they were involved with the St. Joseph Serves Day on April 29.
“Serving as a Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion is such a meaningful ministry for me,” Malissa says. “It’s an amazing honor. Participating in adoration is also very meaningful, and I highly encourage everyone to consider it.”
Today, Malissa and Jeff’s children are also involved in the faith community. They attend Mass as a family, and Clara has served as an altar server while Mary and Sam have participated in carrying the gifts.
“It’s been wonderful to see our children participate in ministries at church,” Jeff says. “Clara did such a good job as an altar server, especially during the pandemic when she often was the lone altar server. I look forward to seeing Mary and Sam serving more in the future.”
Malissa would encourage others to consider becoming involved in parish life because it is important to support each other and foster fellowship.
“I also encourage others to be involved in the parish simply because their help is needed,” Malissa says. “The priests, deacons, and staff can’t do everything. Their workload is heavy enough as it is. It’s good to be able to help ease that burden, even if it might be in a small way.”
Malissa and Jeff know how busy the past few years have been for the Cathedral of St. Joseph faith community and how everyone has been adaptable.
“I would like to thank the faith community within our own parish and the neighboring parishes for supporting each other through the renovation process,” Malissa says. “It’s so important to know each other and have fellowship with other parish members.”