‘Giving back is just part of being Catholic’

Leaven photo by Jay Soldner Gwen and Kevin Tucker, parishioners of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, are the honorary chairs for the 2016 Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal.
Gwen and Kevin Tucker, parishioners of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, are the honorary chairs for the 2016 Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. Leaven photo by Jay Soldner

Topeka — Kevin and Gwen Tucker, honorary chairs for the 2016 Archbishop’s Call to Share, exemplify what honorary chairs should be. They give freely of their time, talents and gifts in ways too numerous to mention here. Yet, they think there are so many who do much more to support the archdiocese.

Kevin, who was raised Presbyterian, joined the church in 1990. Soon after, he and Gwen, who grew up Catholic, made the decision to become more involved in the life of their parish and to support the church financially.

“We heard a couple give a great talk on stewardship,” said Kevin. “Right then, we made a commitment to increase our involvement and financial support. We realized that stewardship needed to be an important part of our faith life.”

The Tuckers have given to the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal consistently for 17 years. But, until recently, they did not realize fully the significance of the appeal.

“We knew Call to Share helped a lot of people, but now we understand the reach, depth and breadth of the many ministries supported by the appeal,” said Kevin. “We wish more people knew how much this means to people who turn to us for help.”

Gwen traces her involvement in parish life at Most Pure Heart of Mary in Topeka and the support of the archdiocese to her upbringing.

“Coming from a small rural parish, we just knew that everyone needed to pitch in,” said Gwen. “For me, giving back is just part of being Catholic.”

The couple’s stewardship commitment goes far beyond their financial support. They also give of their time and talent in support of their parish. Gwen serves as a cantor and sings with Grace, one of the parish’s several music groups. She also serves on the liturgy committee, and, as lector ministry coordinator, schedules readers for all parish Masses and services.

The example of her fellow parishioners strengthens and enriches her faith. “I’m moved by the time and effort people devote to various ministries,” she said. “They are eager to get involved and help in whatever way they can.”

Kevin has participated in and led Bible study groups for more than 25 years. He is active on the Faith Formation Committee and is a board member of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Foundation, an endowment that supports parish life and the school.

The Tuckers, who run a financial adviser group, believe their contributions to Archbishop’s Call to Share are a great investment. “Look at what your money can do!” said Gwen. “It is compounded over and over again. The benefit people get is tremendous, compared to the amount you give.”

Kevin and Gwen love that their ACTS gift supports Project Rachel, which offers women a path to healing after abortion, and social justice and Hispanic ministries, which are great needs that would go unmet if not for ACTS.

“These ministries help to give a voice to people who otherwise wouldn’t be heard,” said Gwen.

Kevin is a believer in the mission of the Holy Family School of Faith, which offers resources and programs in adult faith formation.

Deaf ministry has a special place in Gwen’s heart. After taking a class in sign language, led by a deaf parishioner, she appreciates that deaf ministry helps to share the faith with people who are hearing impaired. The couple also is supportive of Catholic education and Catholic student centers at colleges and universities in the archdiocese.

“When we were asked to chair the Call to Share appeal, my first thought was, ‘There are so many generous people who give much more than we do,’” recalled Gwen. “But we really believe in the work of the church in northeast Kansas, and we’re happy to help however we can.”

The Tuckers have been married for 26 years. After raising a blended family of five children, Kevin and Gwen have been blessed with four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren. Their leadership in their parish and community, as faithful and committed Catholics, is a powerful witness that will serve as an inspiration for future generations.

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