At each newcomer meeting, Fr. Vince mentions that most people mistakenly believe this parish is fairly new; people are surprised to learn that we have existed for over 135 years. While I’m not quite that old yet, I am one of the small group of parishioners who have been around for many decades.
My family moved to Waukee in 1960 when I was born. My parents are Joe and Blanche Stork; my dad was a doctor and my mother a teacher; both are deceased now. I am the youngest of six children. I have many memories of attending Mass at St. Boniface in the small brick church on 4th Street. One of my first memories was of being quickly taken out of church by my irritated mother, who carried me over to the one room hall next to the church, where she proceeded to put me over her lap and spank me – in full view of parishioners who were coming into the hall after Mass. I don’t know what I did that day, but I’m sure it wasn’t sitting quietly in the pew like I was supposed to be doing. I’m also sure one of my brothers had something to do with it…
I grew up in Waukee, graduated from Waukee High School in 1978 in a class of around 80 kids (some of who still belong to St. Boniface, too). After graduation I attended the University of Iowa, graduating with an English degree, since that was what I had the most credits in as my junior year approached and I needed to declare a major. From there I moved to Minneapolis; enjoyed being a workaholic for most of my 20’s decade; met my husband at the company we both worked for; got married and had three kids; and then decided to move back to Waukee to be nearer to both our families (Tim is from Kansas). Twenty years after leaving Waukee, St. Boniface became part of my life again.
Fr. Bob Schoemann was the pastor when we moved back to Waukee. After both Tim and I had finished our terms on the Pastoral Council, Fr. Bob approached me about helping with the building fund campaign for a new church. The timing was perfect for saying yes to this since I was at the time a stay-at-home mom with three young kids. After the (successful) building campaign was finished, Fr. Bob asked me if I could stay on permanently to help in the parish office, primarily working on tracking the pledges and other matters related to the building project. Marilyn Lickteig was the only full time staff person at the time and she graciously accepted me into her world. I could not have asked for a better mentor in learning to transfer my work habits from “corporate” to “ministry”. I can only hope to have garnered a trace of the spirit with which Marilyn approached her parish office ministry.
Since I started at the parish when it was relatively small and the staff was just Marilyn and me and Sharon Hoffman a few hours each week, I was able to learn at least a little something about every aspect of running a parish office (except taking care of the finances; I’ve never touched that and wouldn’t want to…). Even though the parish has since grown by leaps and bounds, the same work needs to be done – just on a larger scale. I feel lucky to have come at a time when I was exposed to all aspects of the office instead of just my specific area of responsibility.
Fr. Vince has allowed me to maintain a wide array of responsibilities in my current position, for which I am very grateful. My main areas of responsibility are maintaining the parish database of families; keeping the parish calendar; being responsible for the posting of contributions, the auto-debit program, WeShare online program; preparing reports related to financial contributions; managing the Annual Diocesan Appeal; helping Fr. Vince with seasonal liturgical ministries; recording sacramental records; and the best catch-all that I could ask for, “special projects given by the Pastor.” (That last one is honestly my favorite.)
I come to work each day appreciating the special gift I have of being able to work in the place where my faith is shared. I am surrounded by a spirit of giving from all of you who work other jobs yet find time and energy to volunteer of yourselves here. If I am able to still be in this position until it’s time to retire, I will count myself very blessed.