Living the Faith: Maurice “Moe” and Paulette Joyal

ACTON -- Maurice “Moe” and Paulette Joyal have deep roots at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Acton. For more than half a century, the couple has been actively involved in their parish community.

When their five children were young, both Moe and Paulette taught religious education.

Then, as their children grew older, Moe began helping to maintain the buildings and grounds of the parish -- a task he still enjoys.

During the early 1980s, when families from Vietnam immigrated into the Acton parish, the couple sponsored three different families, befriending them and helping them to transition into the American way of life. During this same time, they were also involved in a project to help Cambodian children in Lowell complete their high school education.

For several years, the Joyals have been running a monthly clothing drive in their parish, which they then bring to the St. Frances and St. Clare Thrift Store in Lawrence. The St. Frances and St. Clare Thrift Store help fund the Lazarus House Ministries -- a transitional homeless shelter.

“We try to do little things,” said Paulette, adding that “as we get older, we can do less, but we still like our parish very much.”

Paulette, was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1930. A cradle Catholic, she met Moe in 1948 when he was studying engineering at the University of Ottawa. The couple married 55 years ago and have been parishioners at St. Elizabeth of Hungary since 1957. The couple are proud parents of five and grandparents of seven.

“It’s been a great life,” said Moe. “We’ve been very fortunate throughout our lives.”

The Joyals lauded their pastor, Father Walter Woods. “He’s very good,” said Paulette. “A good organizer.”

“And a good singer too,” interjected Moe. “And he’s a great leader, a wonderful leader.”

“The Church is really our family,” he continued. “And Father Walter has the ability to bring everyone together, to make everyone feel like this is their parish.”

According to Paulette, there are many volunteers who help keep the parish vibrant.

“There are many young families at St. Elizabeth’s,” she said. “And there are many programs for them that help deepen their faith.”

As the Joyals get older -- Moe and Paulette are both 79 -- they see the importance of their faith underscored in every aspect of their lives, Paulette said.

“I feel I need the Church because I need the support of my faith family,” she said. “It’s good to have the Sunday liturgy to keep you going.”

“You can always fall back on your faith,” Moe added. “It’s a great anchor.”

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Acton

Year established -- 1945

Pastor -- Father Walter J. Woods

Pastoral Associate -- Stephen Ryan

Religious Education Directors -- Barbara Dane, Cynthia Harrington

Business Manager -- John J. Morris

Administrative Assistant -- Janice Coyle

Music Director -- Andrea Goodrich

Liturgical Coordinator -- Mary Ryan