For Mark and Mary Houle, who have been parishioners at St. Hubert for almost 40 years, service is an essential component of their faith.
“We have both always wanted to serve our Lord,” Mary says. “We feel that is what He called us to do. We both feel a strong sense of peace when helping and doing things at church.”
Born in Hawaii, Mark was the oldest of 11 children. He attended Catholic school and after high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard. While stationed in Duluth, Minn., he met Mary.
He completed his time in the military while in Duluth, attended college at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State University, and went on to teach fifth grade for 30 years. Since retiring, Mark continues to teach part-time.
Mary also comes from a large Catholic family, as the 14th child in the family. She grew up on a farm near Grand Rapids. She recalls her parents being devout in their faith despite some challenges along the way. Mary is a registered nurse, having practiced since 1975. She retired in 2018 from Tri-County Hospital in Wadena but continues to work at an assisted living facility in Sebeka.
Mark and Mary moved to the community in 1985, which is when they joined St. Hubert.
“By simply joining, the women fall into a Circle,” Mary says. “That Circle sort of guided me along by a personal drop-in visit and calls to ask for funeral food items, et cetera. The chairperson became my resource for all questions pertaining to church.”
Mark joined the Holy Name Society and got involved in Religious Education, which he taught for almost 15 years, primarily serving in the Confirmation classes.
“We were thus engrained into the faith community,” Mary says.
Through the years, Mary has been involved as a Circle member, as co-chair for Circle 4, and as a member of the Prayer Blanket Ministry, Altar Cloth Care, and the Quilting Group.
“I love to be involved,” Mary says. “I enjoy volunteering. My conscience would needle me if I didn’t help out in any way I could. Additionally, when we were younger, busy with kids during their varying ages, there were times we could not give of our time. Now we have flexibility to help. I try to keep the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy in mind at all times.”
In addition to his involvement with Religious
Education and the Holy Name Society, Mark has been involved in the Usher Ministry and has served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
“I feel this helps me be a better husband, father, grandfather — but most notably, a better servant of the Lord,” he says.
The Houles say St. Hubert Parish has been a big part of raising their three children. They have formed many friendships on which they have relied several times over the years. Their children also participated in parish activities growing up, and continue to serve the church as involved Catholics in their own parishes.
In daily life, Mark and Mary live out their faith through prayer and service. They pray chaplets and rosaries, take time for personal prayer, listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast, and enjoy theological discussion.