Volunteering does more than fill a need

Your Catholic Neighbor: Colleen Kasubaski (Dawn Blake | For the Compass)

WAUTOMA — According to the Bible, the number 20 could symbolize cycles of completeness. That may also be the case for Colleen Kasubaski, who has spent 20 years — and more — serving St. Joseph Parish.

She and her husband, Keith, were married at St. Joseph Church in 1989 and started a family soon after. Her first volunteer effort at the parish was joining the fellowship committee.

“We were raising two young boys, so money was kind of short,” she said. “Giving my time was a way I could give back some of what I wasn’t able to put in the collection envelope.”

The committee organized activities for the church, including for the feast of St. Joseph, the ice cream social, Harvest Fest and game night. Her boys, Joe and Steve, could come and help, too. After a few years, Kasubaski became chair of the committee, a position she held for 20-plus years, prior to its dissolution.

“It was a ton of fun and it was a way that my family could be together and involved with the church family,” she said.

She also taught ninth grade faith formation from when her kids were about that age, stopping right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did that for around 20 years, too,” she laughed, saying it was a good refresher for her and fondly recalled when students painted a mural in the classroom, the SS. Peter and Paul Room.

“They asked me if they could paint Peter and Paul on the wall in that room,” she said. “After doing some research and getting permission from the priest, they painted as an activity while we talked about the good and the not-so-good about Saints Peter and Paul, because they weren’t perfect people. That was very meaningful and special.”

Kasubaski also volunteers with Dave Giebel, the father of one of her former students from that class, in Boy Scouts. It’s an organization she has been involved with for many years, first as a den leader for her eldest son Joe’s Cub Scout troop, and now as committee chair. Her youngest son, Steve, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. His project was the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of St. Joseph Church.

“There’s not a greater feeling in the world than working with your son on a project and telling him that, years from now, you’re going to drive by here. You might even be bringing your family by,” she said. “And it’s beautiful, because he’s 29 now and lives a block away from something he put a lot of time and effort into, and it’s there for his kids to see when they walk over together every week.”

Kasubaski’s current efforts are focused on putting together the parish directory, performing the duties of cemetery sexton along with her husband, and looking forward to hosting a table for the parish’s boutique fundraiser.

This year will be Kasubaski’s fourth time coordinating the parish directory, which is updated and published every five years. “Technology has made it a lot easier than it was 20 years ago because now our 400-plus members set up their own photo appointments and update their information online, which is awesome. The process is a lot more streamlined,” she said.

St. Joseph’s Boutique raises money for the Parish Council of Catholic Women, which uses their funds to enhance the church. Every year in October, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, Kasubaski sets a table with a holiday theme and then sells seven seats at it for the luncheon that includes prize giveaways and a fashion show.

“It’s a lot of fun, and a really nice afternoon. I’ve decorated my table with a St. Patrick’s Day theme, Halloween, angels, Santas, snowmen, poinsettias,” she said. “I also modeled in the fashion show for three years. That cost me a lot of money because I loved the clothes and couldn’t leave them after I was done.”

In 2010, Kasubaski and her husband became caretakers of St. Joseph Cemetery, taking over for Chuck and Aggie Heck. “I wondered what being a cemetery sexton was all about. I had enough on my plate, but I prayed about it,” she said. “Then I talked to Keith and he said we should go for it.”

“I knew nothing about plots and cremains burials and columbarium, and now this has evolved and we’ve subsequently almost completely filled one and are in the process of organizing and putting up another in the cemetery,” she said.

Kasubaski said she enjoys volunteering because she helps fill a need and also has learned a lot about the inner workings of the church.

“Everyone should do it,” she encouraged. “Like I said, what you give doesn’t have to be in that envelope and you’ll learn so much if you share a little bit of your time and talents.”

Name: Colleen Kasubaski
Age: 60
Parish: St. Joseph, Wautoma
Favorite saint: St. Margaret
Words to live by: “The Boy Scout motto: Do a good turn daily.”