REDGRANITE — Victor Shrock, a lifetime member of St. Mark Parish, has fond early childhood memories of the parish where he received his first Communion — and has continued to joyfully serve for decades.
“Everyone wanted to go to church with my mom. We always had a car stuffed full of people. She was always in the kitchen making pies and cookies — half the bread she baked every week went to Fr. (Hubert) Woyak,” he said with a smile.
When he was growing up, Shrock helped with picnics and other parish activities. For the last 20 years, Shrock, a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, has been an invaluable resource for parish leaders in Redgranite, helping others in need, assisting with Mass, serving on committees and everything in-between.
One of the ways he’s helped is through the Knights of Columbus. He’s been a member since 1970.
“It’s founded on the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism,” he said. “I’m a Fourth Degree member and I’ve been grand knight at St. Mark’s/Sacred Heart (Poy Sippi) ever since we started the council in this parish in 2002.”
The St. Mark Council 13083 is 48 members strong and they, under Shrock’s leadership, work together to lend a hand wherever and whenever needed.
“My guys are ushers, proclaimers (of the word) and eucharistic ministers. We help (whoever) is here,” said Shrock. “Fr. Kyle Sladek, our new administrator, started in July. I told him, ‘We’ve got your back.’ We’re here to support him and are grateful to have somebody here. It’s been almost 15 years since we had a permanent priest.”
Shrock provides a variety of aid to parishioners and community members in emergency situations — including making supportive phone calls and finding laborers to help a young farmer whose wife needs double hip surgery.
He’s also repaired a milk house building so it passed inspection, assisted people with medical expenses or helped them find a place to stay for a day or two, and provided gift cards for the basic necessities of food and gas to people.
“I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do as a Christian,” said Shrock. “However I can figure it out to help them, I’ll help them, best I can. Everything just kind of comes together. The good Lord takes care of us, gives us a way of doing things. And I’ve got three brothers and two sisters up in Heaven who are watching over me.”
Shrock said it’s important to keep the churches going and open, so people have the opportunity to worship in person.
“We were taught that it’s an obligation to go to Mass every Sunday. I know there are people who pray at home who could come to church, and other people that can’t make it to church,” he said. “The beauty of it all is God is in front of you, you see the miracle of the bread and wine, changing into the body and blood of Christ. God is all forgiving. I don’t push people; that’s between them and God. You pray for them to come back to the church regularly, you just pray for them.”
A former president of the parish pastoral council, Shrock is a trustee and involved with several church committees, including buildings and grounds, cemetery and worship.
What he said he enjoys most is being a server, which he does with his grandson. Shrock has been a server since 2006 and currently trains the younger ones.
“That’s the greatest thing I’m doing — I’m a server. You’re right there next to God, taking an active part in what’s going on in Mass,” he said.He’s also been known to calm a fussy baby or two.
“I could take a baby that was hollering and screaming from a mother and, in my hands, they become quiet,” he said. “I can’t pick the little ones up anymore like I used to, but I liked helping the parents out and settling the kids down.
“That’s what my goal is: to keep people happy. I always greet people with ‘How are you doing this beautiful day?’ No matter what the weather is, no matter what, every day is beautiful,” said Shrock. “Every day I can put both my feet on the floor and go, it’s a beautiful day. And they agree with me — and they start to think it.”