Art and Stacie Jaskiewicz had heard nothing but positive reports about St. Joseph Parish School and wanted the best for their son. With that in mind, they decided to enroll him in the preschool, and it was the beginning of a new phase of their faith journey.
“After enrolling Arthur at St. Joseph, it became evident that faith was needed for us to deepen our relationship,” Art says. “Enrolling him in the preschool program was the start of our involvement at the parish.”
Art and Stacie met 21 years ago through their employer, and at the time, actively living the Catholic faith wasn’t a critical part of their relationship. Stacie was raised Lutheran, and Art was raised Catholic and had been an active member in his high school years at his parish, St. Stanislaus in Erie, Pa.
“There was a period when I fell out of good practice and struggled to be an active participant in the Catholic community,” Art says. “I never lost or doubted my faith, but rather developed some bad habits.”
As Arthur continued in preschool, Stacie felt called to the faith and decided to go through the RCIA process as a candidate. She urged Art to attend classes with her, and he was impressed and humbled by her commitment.
“Stacie often had questions after her meetings or after Mass, and then I realized I was missing that involvement, interaction, and sharing of the faith I had in my youth,” Art says. “Eventually I went from being a guest to an active member of RCIA and the parish.”
When Stacie joined the Church at the Easter Vigil in 2016, Art and Stacie officially became members of St. Joseph. They also became increasingly more involved in parish life.
“Fr. Tim O’Connor was supportive in accepting me as Stacie’s sponsor and then blessing our marriage at that same Easter Vigil and welcoming us to the parish,” Art says. “It is one thing to attend Mass and be involved in ministries to satisfy one’s calling. Then there is setting the example for our children. When you involve the whole family, you learn and grow together.”
Today Arthur is an altar server, and Art and Stacie are involved with the RCIA process. Art is also an usher for the 11 a.m. Mass and holidays and is a Parent Club Representative. In addition, Art joined the Knights of Columbus and last year helped coach CYO basketball.
“Each ministry is meaningful in that they bring something different to the community and to me,” Art says. “Catholicism is a community-based religion and being involved in the different ministries helps build community togetherness. It goes without saying that it has helped me be a better father, husband, and person.”
Every parishioner has something to give, so Art would suggest signing up for a ministry and just trying it. If that ministry isn’t for you, try a different one.
“Just like the Life cereal commercial of the ‘80s, try it, and you might like it even if you don’t like anything — Mikey did,” Art says. “You have nothing to lose in attending a meeting or function. You’ll find good people at every level willing to help. There are numerous events hosted by both parishes, the school, and other groups that could use a volunteer.”
Art and Stacie are grateful to everyone who has been involved in their family’s growth at St. Joseph, including Fr. Tim for his guidance, wisdom, and leadership, and the school administration for their patience and faith-based education for their children, Arthur and Max.
“I thank my wife for bringing me back to my faith and my children for helping me realize how faith can make me a better person, let alone a better father,” Art says. “I thank the ministries I am involved with as each of those has shown what I can give back to the Church. Finally, I thank the parishioners. Every Sunday, I open the door for you, and you thank me with a smile.”