Francis and Renae Elmenhorst met when they were in college. Raised in a Catholic family, Francis attended Catholic school until eighth grade. Renae grew up in the Methodist church, but after getting married, she decided that it was important that their future children be raised in one faith — the Catholic faith.
“As I started going to Mass and learning about the faith, I knew that I wanted to raise my family Catholic,” Renae says. “I became Catholic in May of 1979, three months after I found out I was pregnant with our first child. Our daughter was born in December, and I was already Catholic. God had a plan, and it worked out perfectly. It was truly wonderful for our family.”
Francis and Renae have been married for 45 years. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. They have been parishioners at St. John for 25 years.
Renae is involved in our Catholic Community in a number of ways — helping with weekly accounting/collection, she belongs to the Women of Faith class that meets on Thursday, serves as Vice President of the Women Association, and helps with funeral dinners and parish weddings.
Francis is involved with the Knights of Columbus. He has served as Grand Knight three times and was District Deputy for five years. In addition, he helps with the lawnmowing crew that takes turns caring for the lawn and yard at St. James.
“It wasn’t that hard for me to get involved,” Renae says. “I am the type of person that never says ‘no.’ Unless I am sick, if someone needs something, Francis and I will be there.”
The Elmenhorsts believe that it is important to be active members. For them, it has been a wonderful way to grow in community and fellowship with other parishioners.
“It takes all kinds of people to do things for the church,” Renae says. “The church does not do things on its own. I am an accounting person, so I help with that. But other people have different talents and the church needs all of them to thrive.”
Being active members of the parish has also helped strengthen the Elmenhorsts’ spiritual lives and relationships with God, and it has helped them dive deeper into the faith.
“As we got older, we had more time and we wanted to learn more about the faith,” Renae says. “I’ve been hungrier to learn about the faith and the things in the Bible. I am amazed that I am still hungry to learn more about the Church.”