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Peter and Darsan Russo

Peter and Darsan Russo say that they have many blessings in life.

We are grateful for what God has given us, and we see volunteering as a way of showing appreciation and giving back. We have always volunteered through the Church and in the community wherever we’ve lived.

So St. Francis was a natural fit for them.

They found St. Francis by good fortune when they were in the area for their daughter’s wedding in 2006. “We chose St. Francis because it was the closest church to where we were staying,” recalls Darsan, “When we moved from Massachusetts, we remembered the church that we liked and found we still liked it.” Both say they like that St. Francis is a community where people are active and involved and do more than just attend Mass once a week. Peter says, “The parishioners try to make faith part of their everyday lives, not just one hour a week.”

When asked what inspires their prolific volunteering, Peter references John’s Gospel (John 21:17) as inspiration: “Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Peter says, ‘You know I do,” and Jesus says, ‘Feed my sheep.’” That admonition drives the Russos to be involved with Crosswalk, Vacation Bible School, and the baptism ministry. Darsan says, “Working with kids is wonderful, and seeing their reaction to you, once they know you, is rewarding. When you see them in Church, and they wave, or you see them out in the community, and they recognize you, it feels like you’ve had an impact.”

However, those aren’t their only ministerial roles. They are Eucharistic Ministers and enjoy taking the Eucharist to the seniors at Capital Oaks Retirement Resort on Saturdays. Peter is also on the Parish Finance Council and the Strategic Planning Committee. They find that the benefit isn’t just to the ministry, though. “It’s gratifying to meet the people who are out in ministry with us volunteering alongside,” Peter emphasizes, “You get to know a lot of other fascinating people.” Both Peter and Darsan encourage their fellow parishioners to find what ministry may need their skills by considering their interests and where their expertise could have an impact. “Ask other parishioners who participate in those ministries that align with your skills and interest,” they say, “You’ll find things that will be a good fit.” They also mention, “The Ministry Fair is a good way to see many simultaneously. Shop around the ministries to see where those in need will best receive your gifts.”