Candice and Jason Hellermann are sometimes asked in a good-natured way if they “live” at St. Mary’s. While they don’t physically live at the parish, the Hellermann family has experienced a whole new sense of belonging through living stewardship.
“Helping with church ministries has given new light to our family and given us a place in the church community,” Jason says. “The children have learned great patience in the ministries and how to work with others. It has created that feeling of a church family.”
Jason is a lifelong member of St. Mary’s as he grew up in Melrose, and Candice joined the parish when they were married in 2006.
“At that time, we loved the old historic church, and we knew that we were going to live in Melrose and raise our children here,” Candice says. “All three of our children — Gretta, Westin, and Quintin — have received their sacraments at the parish.”
The Hellermanns became involved in church ministries when the new church was built and opened in 2020. They recommend serving as greeters or ushers if parishioners and families are looking for small ways to share their stewardship gifts.
“I would say these are low-key ministries, but they mean a lot to the functioning of the church,” Jason says. “All of the kids also help greet when Candice and I are greeters and clean when it is our team’s turn to clean the church.”
Jason and Gretta became involved with technology at the new church right away. The Technology Team works together at every Mass to set up livestreams, manage sound, and share information on the large screens. For Jason and Gretta, working on this team gives them a meaningful opportunity to live stewardship together.
“Gretta was really fast with the technology and has taught me so much,” Jason says. “You have to communicate with each other, listen carefully, and be flexible. You allow the Mass to run smoothly so that the church community has a good experience.”
Over the past two years, the Hellermanns have continued to engage further in stewardship and have started being involved in a few more ministries. Today, their whole family is active in different ways. While Gretta works with technology and is an usher, Westin and Quintin both are altar servers and ushers as well.
“For me, becoming a sacristan and Eucharistic Minister has brought a whole new appreciation and deeper meaning to the Mass itself,” Candice says. “A lot of the sacristans are getting older, so having younger people take that on is definitely needed in the parish.”
Jason hopes that their family might serve as a small inspiration for other parishioners and families to become more involved in parish life. Similarly, Quintin hopes that other youngsters in the church will see his example and want to participate in the Mass as well.
“Serving is us doing our part as parents to influence our children and put what we believe is important in their hearts and minds right away,” Jason says. “It’s so important to create a strong faith-based family unit. It builds trust and respect. It allows us to pray for each other. It builds love for Christ and love for each other.”
Candice and Jason are both available to talk with other faith community members who are wondering how they might also foster a sense of belonging through stewardship.
“Thank you for welcoming us and our kids, even with our flaws,” Candice says. “We love seeing everyone at Mass, and we’re happy to talk with others about getting involved in ministries. When you serve, you’re part of creating that strong church community.”