Making It Work: Walking Together in Marriage and Ministry
9/3/2009 • By Mary Stadnyk News Editor, (c) The Monitor, Trenton, NJ.
For almost 39 years, John and Therese Boucher have managed to weave all the elements together, living out their vocation as a married couple, sharing their love for one another, caring for their five children and their passion for working in the ministry of evangelization.
That’s a combination which both readily admitted has presented its share of challenges. Yet, the Bouchers maintain that at the heart of their life together is believing that their marriage is a ministry and that their work in evangelization is a God-given gift.
Over the years, the Bouchers have built up their respective resumes in Church ministry, working in several dioceses in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New York and New Jersey. Between them, they have published more than 20 books. Of the 10 books Therese has authored alone, two of which she takes particular pride in are “Evangelizing Unchurched Children” and “Looking for Jesus at Church,” a book for children on the Mass, in which she wrote the story and her son, Timothy, illustrated…
Being relevant with the message of the Gospel has been the driving force of our ministry,” said Therese. “It’s been about teaching people how to reach out to others and share their faith in everyday situations.”
“What has given John and me the most joy is being able to share the good things that God has given us and sharing the work we’ve done.”
As Therese put it, she and John were college students who met “in the context of a call to ministry.” John was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass., while Therese was a sociology major at Anna Maria College, Paxton, Mass. Both belonged to an on-campus faith sharing community at Holy Cross which offered Antioch weekend retreats for the members. It was through their participation in the retreats where they met, fell in love and were led to make career choice changes and go on to earn master’s degrees in religious education at Assumption College, Worcester, Mass.
While Therese had initially intended to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy, she had a change of heart after witnessing the impact the retreat experiences had on others.
“They talked about Jesus as if he were their best friend,” she said. “This became so important to me that I pretty much threw out the idea on occupational therapy and decided that ministry was what I wanted my life to be about.”
John had his sights set on furthering his English studies at the University of Pennsylvania where he had been accepted in a doctoral program. But his intrigue with ministry ignited when he learned that Therese and a group were planning to work in an inner-city parish in a very depressed part of town, where they would be “reaching out to people who had stopped practicing their faith.”
As I listened to Therese talk, it was then when I knew that I should help,” said John. “I wanted to be part of it.”
John, Therese and their fellow colleagues spent their summer “going door-to-door visiting people,” even though they “did not know what evangelization was or how to do it.”