St. Stephen Church salutes its volunteers

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St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory expressed its gratitude to the many volunteers for the parish ministries with a Volunteer Appreciation Brunch. Photo submitted by Mark Cygler

St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory recently held a Volunteer Appreciation Brunch in the parish social hall for all those who give their time for the different ministries of the parish. Close to 200  volunteers enjoyed a hearty brunch prepared by the Knights of Columbus Council 9282.

Father Davis Chackaleckel, MSFS, pastor of St. Stephen, explained that along with meeting them he wanted to show all volunteers that they are appreciated and that the parish cares and values their time and effort into each of the parish ministries. 

This was also a celebration of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of the Missionaries of ST. Francis de Sales, the religious order to which Father Chackaleckel belongs. The staff made it more colorful by making table mats with famous sayings of St. Francis de Sales, whose 400th anniversary of his death was on Dec. 28. 

Volunteers from each of the St. Stephen’s many ministries, which include the Thursday Lunch Program for the Homeless, Walking with Purpose, Cursillo, RCIA, and the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary were in attendance. Many parishioners expressed their appreciation for the brunch and said it gave them an opportunity to talk with other volunteers and learn about the other ministry opportunities St. Stephen.

“Father Davis’s idea of a Volunteer Brunch was a great one,” said Joe Fariello, Grand Knight of Council 9282 at St. Stephen. “There are so many of our parishioners who give so much of themselves to support our church in so many ways. They are an integral part of who we are and help make us, as a Catholic Community, all that we can be. We can’t thank them enough.” 

David and Kellye Burke, volunteers and parishioners at St. Stephen commented, “This was so much more than we expected. It was great being with selfless people who love St. Stephen.”

Father Chackaleckel said this will become an annual event at St. Stephen, and although so many attended, there is still a need for more volunteers in several of the parish ministries, including Art/Decorations, Pregnancy Care, and Adult Formation.

In thanking all of those in attendance Father Davis closed with a quote from 1 Corinthians: 12: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit. There are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”

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