Stories of Stewards: David and Heather Bennett
As part of our ongoing engagement process, we have come to realize the importance of parishioners sharing their personal stories of how they have connected with Saint Clement as an important factor in their lives. As a feature twice a month, we share the stories and reflections of our engaged parishioners who are living a stewardship life of prayer, service, and giving. This week we hear from David and Heather Bennett:
We always find time for the church and the community even though we don’t think we have time. With four kids our schedule looks like a game of Tetris. So rather than looking for large, long term commitments we tend to dabble in lots of small things, which is easy with all of the stewardship opportunities at Saint Clement. Also, when cornered, we are rarely able to say no (shhh, don’t tell anyone). This results in our stewardship changing as the calendar and our family changes, an ever-evolving stewardship.
As a young family moving into a new home in 2004, we were excited to find Saint Clement Parish one block away. Proximity of the church was important because for our family with a one-year old (Marshall) and a second child (Avery) on the way, a short walk to church helped us to get to weekly Mass on time. Well, most of the time. David traveled frequently and Heather was busy with children and home renovations, so we looked for stewardship projects for exhausted parents. Heather joined Clement Moms and the Jesse Tree committee. About once a month we would make extra Meals-For-Moms so we could help a family with a newborn. We would also make lunches for the homeless and many other one-time service opportunities.
An excellent Catholic education was important to us, so we were (again) excited that our children were accepted into Saint Clement School. As our third child, Dominique, was born, Marshall began Pre-K and we learned of new opportunities: volunteering in the classroom and serving on Anchor Ball committees. Attending Anchor Ball has become a favorite annual event (although David is no longer allowed to bid since he unwittingly bought an old church lamppost…he can only give donations). We also pray more as a family, particularly as our children go through the sacraments. The school added another dimension to our attendance at church. At any Mass, we can look around and see many good friends that we have met through school.
When our fourth child, Raquel, was born, we looked back and laughed at how overwhelmed we felt with two children and then looked for more stewardship opportunities. Heather is a Girl Scout leader at Saint Clement School and serves on various school committees from father-daughter dance, room parent, cross country banquet, and the junior high musical sets. David was invited to join the Pastoral Council and (overcoming his fear of such long-term commitments) happily accepted. Marshall and Avery serve as altar servers at Mass. We are especially proud when Marshall runs off to church early to see if an additional altar server is needed, even when he is not scheduled. Raquel also loves to walk our offertory donation up to the altar collection basket during Mass, reinforcing to our kids the importance of sharing our “treasure.”
Marshall is entering his last year at Saint Clement, Avery will be in sixth grade, Dominique in fourth grade, and Raquel in Pre-K. Life is wonderfully busy, yet we will always find time to volunteer and help. There is always time for stewardship. 12 years ago we could not have foreseen how important and central the church has become to our lives and we look forward to continuing our evolving stewardship.