For Marcos and Tonita Moran, living out their faith has always been a family endeavor. While they have been parishioners at St. James for 15 years, their lives, both single and married, have revolved around active service in the Church. Both Marcos and Tonita grew up in Guatemala as members of active Catholic families.
“My mother has always been the Rosary lead when novenas to different patron saints were held,” Tonita says. “This meant praying the Rosary, singing, and attending Mass every Sunday. One of my memories is walking out of Mass with several of my cousins and following my paternal grandfather, Victor, to his home. On the way there, he would stop at the candy store and buy a variety of candies. We would surround Papa Victor, and he would hand a piece of candy to each of us.”
Marcos’ family was also involved in his church growing up and has some wonderful memories of his family’s involvement.
“I helped my dad on Good Friday to prepare the statue of Christ, and we placed Him in the decorated float to be carried by the men and processed around the town,” Marcos says. “My sisters would help with the float that held the statue of the Sorrowful Mother’s float following behind.”
The Morans’ call to marriage came when they least expected it. However, throughout the planning process, they both felt a lot of peace and knew that they were following God’s call for their vocation to marriage.
“Discerning God’s calling has required us to be conscious and present in the moment — to take a look at what is in front of us, and ask if the decision will be a reflection of God’s mighty power,” Tonita says.
They are involved in different ways at St. James. Marcos ushers and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Tonita is a catechist for kindergarten through eighth-grade religious education and a lector. They are both Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Their children are both active in their Catholic faith and active members of their own parish communities, as well.
“We serve to give thanks for the many gifts that God has granted, and continues to grant us,” Tonita says. “Being part of this parish has helped us realize that our faith is rooted in our love of Christ. We are always learning something new from the members of the parish, and it helps us continue growing our own faith life.”
The Morans believe in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “It is in giving that we receive.” They follow Jesus Christ as their role model for living a life of stewardship. However, they also understand that you have to receive the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful things that are given to you in life.
“We are called to be servants, but we are also called to refill ourselves as Christ did,” Tonita says. “We encourage others to get involved in the parish life because it is life-giving. Our lives become richer when we share ourselves with others. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. The first step is always the hardest, and there is always one person willing to walk along with you.”