Living the Faith: John and Jonell Boroski

LITTLETON -- A diagnosis of cancer could try anyone’s faith. Now imagine hearing that news three times.

John and Jonell Boroski, parishioners at St. Anne’s parish in Littleton, had to face the devastating news that Jonell had cancer three separate times. But rather than doubt their faith, they turned to it for sustenance and support.

“I firmly believe that if God brings you to a place, he’ll bring you through that place,” Jonell declared.

“We’ve got to believe in God,” John said. “Jonell is a three-time cancer survivor.”

Harkening back to the moments when the cancer was at its worst, Jonell recalled that “family, friends and faith” were the things that helped her “get through it all.”

“God was always there, and there’s no question in my mind that he helped us to get to the place where we are now,” she added.

Speaking of their involvement in their parish, Bob chuckled, “Both of us are fairly active.”

Parishioners for 33 years, John noted that since their retirement they have both become much more active parish volunteers.

John, who called himself an “almost full-time office volunteer,” is both an usher and a greeter during Mass. He is a member of both the stewardship committee and the finance committee. He participates in the parish’s Men’s Club and also helps to count the collection every Monday.

“My involvement has certainly grown over the years,” he said, recalling that originally he began volunteering during Bingo in the 1980s.

Jonell, too, is involved in a host of parish activities. She is both an usher and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion during Mass. She brings Communion to homebound parishioners, and is currently the prefect of the Ladies Sodality in the parish.

Jonell explained that the Ladies Sodality is quite a large organization within the parish, with a total of 134 members, 40 of which are inactive.

With social outreach as the group’s primary focus, they undertake a variety projects including helping raise money to be given as scholarships, making Thanksgiving Day baskets for needy families and organizing a Valentine cookie project -- where individuals bake cookies which are then taken to the elderly and the homebound.

Spending so much of their time at the parish has helped the couple foster a deep fondness for St. Anne’s.

“Our parish is so warm and active. There are always people willing to help,” Jonell said.

John agreed. “There are lots of very caring people in our parish,” he said.

Thinking back to their lives, the couple agreed that their Catholic faith has played a considerable role in the bringing up of their two daughters, JoAnn, 37 and Julia, 26.

“If you don’t have faith, I imagine that your life has much less meaning,” Jonell mused.

St. Anne Parish, Littleton

Year established -- 1945

Pastor -- Father Richard L. Casey

Deacon -- Deacon Brian Laws

Music Director -- Robert Couchon

Parish Business Manager -- Debbie Rhodes

Volunteer Projects Manager -- John Boroski

Religious Education Directors -- Jackie Butterfield, Michelle Hatch

Administrative Assistant -- Lee DeLuca