As any parent certainly knows, raising kids often comes with busy schedules and shifting responsibilities. But for parishioners Andrew and Ashley McDonald, prioritizing service to the church is an important aspect of their family life.
“What brought us both to get involved in the parish is knowing the need for involvement in the church and us wanting to set an example for our kids,” Andrew says.
Raised on a farm in Phillips, Neb., Andrew was one of four children — with two brothers and a sister. He attended the University of Nebraska and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
“I decided to return back to the family farm in Phillips where we currently raise corn and feed cattle,” he says.
Ashley also grew up on a farm, just outside of Hampton, Neb., along with two sisters. She studied at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice. She is currently employed as a probation officer in Grand Island and has been an officer for almost six years.
“We got married on March 25, 2017, in Hampton, Neb.,” Ashley says.
The McDonalds welcomed their daughter, Lydia, in October 2018 and their son, Waylon, in March last year.
“Lydia loves to be outdoors and is a huge helper for all things, including her brother, Waylon — he is our little ‘Energizer bunny’ and doesn’t stop moving for anything,” Ashley says.
Andrew was baptized and confirmed at Blessed Sacrament. Ashley went through the RCIA process in the fall of 2018 and was initiated into the Catholic Church in April 2019. Ashley had been baptized and confirmed in the Zion Lutheran Church in Hampton.
Serving in the church has helped Andrew and Ashley grow in their relationships with God and others.
“We serve because we both were brought up with the willingness to help and give back,” Andrew says. “We also see that it does not just take one, but it takes all the parishioners to help our church continue to grow.”
Andrew and Lydia are currently hospitality ministers, and Ashley helps provide desserts and salads on a rotating basis for funerals or whenever there is a need. The family lives out their faith on a daily basis by praying together as a family, attending Mass weekly together, getting involved, and helping out in the church. Andrew and Ashley also emphasize the importance of faith with their kids and each other.
“We try to serve people as God intends for us to do,” Ashley says. “We look forward to continue getting to know our fellow parishioners.”