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Living the Faith: The Dery family

By Donis Tracy Pilot Correspondent
Posted: 10/17/2008

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Lauren, Daniel and Suzanne Dery of St. Marguerite D’Youville Parish in Dracut. Not pictured is Joshua Dery, who is also very active in the parish. Pilot photo/ Courtesy the Dery family


DRACUT -- In the parish of St. Marguerite D’Youville in Dracut, there’s a family that embodies the familiar expression, “The family that prays together stays together.”

Daniel and Suzanne Dery, together with their two adult children living at home, Lauren, 26, and Joshua, 22, center their lives around their involvement at St. Marguerite’s. All four are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion; Daniel is a lector and serves on the Parish Club committee, a committee that organizes parish functions; Lauren, Daniel and Suzanne all volunteer for the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society; Suzanne is a member of the religious education retreat team; Joshua and Daniel both serve on the finance committee. And that is just to name a few of their commitments to the parish community.

“Our monthly calendar is so busy that it’s only every once in a while that all of us are here [at home] with nothing going on at our parish,” joked Daniel.

“This is the way I grew up,” added Suzanne, noting that parish involvement was an integral part of her childhood, as it has been throughout her adulthood. “God is number one, and if you don’t have God in your life, you have nothing.”

Although they were originally parishioners of St. Louis of France in Lowell, a parish that merged with St. Marguerite’s during the reconfiguration process, the Derys made a commitment to stay involved in their new parish, a decision they are very happy to have made.

“There are a lot of people that would like to get involved in their parish, but don’t know how,” Daniel said, adding that he feels fortunate to be such an active member of the parish community.

He also mentioned how “blessed” he feels to have his children at his side, also involving themselves with the life of the parish.

“We always get so many comments from people who say things like ‘We always see your whole family together,’ and it really is a blessing to be involved as a family,” added Suzanne.

Suzanne praised Father Robert Connors, pastor of St. Marguerite’s, for his efforts to motivate all his parishioners to become involved in the life of the parish. According to Suzanne, Father Connors recently held a parish-wide “town meeting” to discuss different ways to get involved. The bulletin also features ways to participate in parish activities outside of weekly Mass.

One of these new ministries within the parish is a children’s liturgy, which Daniel has started with fellow parishioner Christine Carignan. Twice a month during the religious education calendar year, schoolchildren up to the fourth grade are invited to participate in the liturgy during the 9 a.m. Mass. They are pulled out of the congregation and read the three readings of the day. Then they are given an age-appropriate homily and work on an activity related to the theme of the Sunday readings. During the offertory, the children return to their families.

“This was the inaugural year, and it was quite the experience,” Daniel said. “I think it was marvelous.”

“Our parish is very vibrant,” Suzanne said. “We’re working hard.”

St. Marguerite D’Youville Parish, Dracut

Year Established -- 2001

Pastor -- Father Robert Connors

Parochial Vicar -- Father Christopher Casey

Senior Priest -- Father James Lyons

Assistant Clergy --Father Leo Cormier, Father Normand Fillion

Deacon -- Everett Penney, Jr.

Pastoral Associates -- Joan Donnelly, Paul Duquette

Business Manager -- Joanne Laurent

Religious Education Secretary -- Pauline Montmarquet