Pete and Brenda Klaphake would be the first to acknowledge that being involved in the parish sometimes takes away from free time as a family. Yet, being involved also has huge benefits, like making lifelong friends and that feeling you get from giving back.
“We hope our kids can come to realize it takes everyone working together to move a parish forward,” Pete says.
The Klaphakes have three children — Abby, Wyatt, and Isaac. The couple moved from Alexandria in 2014. Pete grew up in Melrose, while Brenda is from rural St. Martin and attended Albany schools. Pete and Brenda made the move because they knew a smaller school would be better for all of them, and they wanted to be closer to family.
Both Pete and Brenda have been active with St. Mary’s School. Pete recently finished a term with the school board, and Brenda has worked with the Auction for Education fundraiser for eight years.
“We both feel the school is an important part of our parish and feel that we needed to be involved in any way we could,” Pete says. “We were able to get to know other parish members while trying to make decisions and plans that would help move the school into the future.”
Brenda spent time helping with church cleaning and is currently involved in other committees. The children are involved as well — Abby and Wyatt help with technology during Mass, while Isaac is an altar server at weekend Mass and often helps with other tasks during Friday school Mass. For the whole family, St. Mary’s Parish and School are truly home.
“We love the sense of community and togetherness we feel every time we enter the church or school,” Brenda says. “We have never felt out of place or thought our efforts were a waste when we have volunteered our time and talents for any reason for the parish.”
Being involved gives the whole family a sense of satisfaction. As members of the faith community, it’s important to them to give back.
“We feel we all have a role to play to continue to keep our parish strong and vibrant,” Pete says. “We think when a group of people comes together to accomplish something and those results are like what we have seen during our involvement for the auction or at school, it is super rewarding.”
Both Pete and Brenda recommend getting involved in a ministry — consider your talents and interests, and how they could be put to use in the parish.
“We feel it is important because people have to be involved in order to keep a church and school striving and growing,” Brenda says. “It takes all of our talents, ideas, commitment, and time to come together as a parish and community as a whole. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed anything to help in these areas.”
For Pete, involvement with the school board was a fun endeavor. He enjoyed coming up with creative solutions to challenges. Brenda can’t pick a favorite ministry — she enjoys them all.
In their free time, the family enjoys sporting events. Pete helps with elementary football, baseball, and basketball. They enjoy attending St. John’s University football in the fall and Twins games in the spring and summer. The family loves to take advantage of the seasons, being on the water in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.