I am very happy to welcome Craig Mazur who is joining St. Joseph in a threefold role of service to our parish: as our new Director of Religious Education, our Junior High Religion Teacher in the school, and as Youth Minister to the teens of our parish. Craig is an exciting addition to our parish ministry team; he is filled with enthusiasm for the gospel and has many creative ideas for deepening faith in the young people of our parish. I am so looking forward to the many ways that Craig will lead the youth of our parish to Christ! Please welcome him and accept his invitation to get your children more involved in their Catholic Faith.
I am honored to introduce myself and explain how I ended up at St. Joseph!
A few months ago, a seminarian intern gave a talk to my teen youth group about vocations discernment. He conveyed to the group that one of the most difficult things to do is to put aside our own desires of what we want for our lives, and to listen to what God is calling us to do. "God is not going to 'mess with you.' If the call is truly from Him, it is a call to joy, peace, and fulfillment. It is a call to be sanctified and to sanctify others. It is an invitation to quicken your journey home."
As for my story, after 24 years in retail I had a mid-life career change. At 45 years old, I went back to school to obtain a teaching license with the intention of teaching high school business. At the same time, I was offered a staff position at St. Liborius in Steger, my home parish at the time. This brought me even more into the life of the parish, especially developing a vibrant Youth Ministry, and assisting with the Parish Religious Education Program. After obtaining my license, I taught part-time at Mother Teresa Catholic Academy, the parish school, while continuing my work at the parish. This past year, while still teaching Confirmation Preparation at MTCA and directing the parish’s Youth Ministry, I focused more of my efforts toward the RE program along with the Director of Religious Education.
As with many vocation stories we hear, I could not put aside my own desire. I still wanted to teach high school business. I actually went on a few interviews over that past few months, but I did not come out of them with any excitement or enthusiasm for what they offered. I love my parish work, and I cannot imagine not directing a Youth Ministry; however, I sought after more time with students in the classroom. God had a plan for me. He led me to St. Joseph where I was offered the position of Junior High Religion Teacher and Director of Religious Education. After much prayer, discernment, and conversation, I decided to accept the position. While in discussion with Fr. Greg and Miss Scheffler, I discovered that there is no Youth Ministry at St. Joseph, so I will also have the honor of starting a Youth Ministry program here as I did at St. Liborius. While this decision is a bitter-sweet change for me, I am excited to become a part of the St. Joseph family. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you in the upcoming months. Please pray for me, as I will pray for the St. Joseph community.