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Jacob House

Coming from a “spiritual but not religious” family and choosing to be baptized Methodist as a teen, Jacob House has always been religious. However, his “high school crush’s invitation” to attend Catholic Mass with her family led him to Catholicism. Whatever the influence to join the Church, St. Francis has been the beneficiary of his decision to become an active member. Since joining St. Francis in 2006, Jacob’s involvement includes being a Eucharistic Minister, Faith Formation volunteer, and Magnolia Glen Ministry Leader, among others, as well as fulfilling leadership roles on the Pastoral Council, the “Know, Believe, Live” (KBL) program, the Pastoral Plan Committee, again, among others. It is insufficient to say, “Jacob is a busy man!”

He says, “I am a follower of a radical revolutionary who counts on me to work alongside his other followers to be his hands, feet, eyes, mind, heart, and voice in this world.” Jacob strives for that while balancing the secular world’s demands and family responsibilities. He does all this work because “I believe that using the gifts God gives me to help people encounter and know God and increase the agape in the world is not optional; it’s the most consequential and fulfilling work I can do.”

This dedication to service wasn’t always the case, though. In 2007, Jacob found himself in conflict. “I had a beautiful young family that I was neglecting because my work-life balance was out of control.  Two months earlier, at age 29, I was promoted to be the youngest VP in my company’s history.  I was qualified in every way, but the combination of my insecurities, my misconception of how much money my family needed, the demands of the business, and my very high-achieving manager resulted in me becoming a stressed-out workaholic spiraling fast into depression. A heavy burden of guilt and shame was accumulating. I went to Confession with Fr. David McBriar and experienced a profound sense of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and advocacy for me.”

He found opportunities as a volunteer to have his faith impact others directly, but he saw in his giving that he received much more. “After that Confession, Fr. David invited me to consider joining the new Magnolia Glen retirement community ministry that was just about to kick off.  I’m so glad I said yes!  Serving at Magnolia Glen was like a wonder drug,” he recalls. “Getting everything “right” for a dozen or so 80-100-year-old Greatest Generation cradle Catholics was enough to get my mind off me.” He also found ways to bring balance back through service. “Bringing my family, including Julia, who was five years old, and Evan, who was two years old at the time, and occasionally my wife, Maureen, opened up blessings beyond anything I could dream of. Just their presence put smiles on the residents’ faces, making their smiles even bigger.”

With all his volunteering, Jacob has advice for those interested in getting involved: “First, I’d say take a moment to recognize that is God speaking to you; your interest in getting involved is God calling you. There will undoubtedly be obstacles put in your way that threaten your successful response to God’s call.” Here are some things he says he told himself when considering volunteering: “I already have zero time for myself; I can’t add another commitment;”  “I don’t know which ministry or volunteer opportunity to pick;”  “I’m an introvert, and won’t know anyone, and feel awkward.”  He counsels to “take action right now to respond to God’s call to get involved.  Don’t give the excuses time to build up!”  He adds, “Browse through the ministries on the website and reach out to three that you’d like to learn more about.  My best advice is to be on the lookout for God’s call. It may just be a small whisper of a tug at your heart, but say ‘yes’ by acting on it before the excuses build up!”

In closing, he says, “God has given you superpowers with a limitless fuel supply.  Let God show you what God can do.  And one more thing (especially to all the teens I’m going to convince to read this): Invite someone to Mass!  You can’t imagine all the good that may come from just your invitation.”

Author-Mike Watson