by Carolyn Kaberline
LEAWOOD — When Joanna Rivard and her husband Doug met Father Richard Storey during the summer of 2015, she welcomed him to his new assignment and mentioned that it would be nice if the parish had a new picture directory.
“The parish had done these in the past at five-year intervals, and we were due for a new one,” said Rivard, a member of Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood. “Father Storey thought it was a good idea, too, so when he asked if I would take on that project, I said, ‘Of course.’”
Rivard had done a lot of volunteer work at the school in the past, and she thought this would be a way to become more active in the parish.
She soon discovered this project was quite a challenge, however.
Work on the project began in October of that year; Lifetouch did the photography during the summer of 2016.
“I definitely found that I had a lot of friends who volunteered to help sign people up,” she said. “Many of the Knights of Columbus members took shifts as well.
“Lifetouch has a website I used to make the appointments on, but it was friends, fellow parishioners and members of the Knights of Columbus who actually got people to make appointments, got people there, checked people in every day for a month and a half, and took their information when they arrived for photos.”
In addition, Rivard herself also staffed the online registration, made appointments over the phone and personally oversaw sign-up sheets at all the Masses for three weeks.
Despite all the work required for the project, Rivard especially enjoyed speaking with and getting to know some of the older parishioners and hearing their stories during the course of the project.
“I got to speak with them over the phone, then meet them when they showed up for their photos,” she explained. “They were so lovely, so appreciative of what we were doing.”
Rivard also said she enjoyed working with the company taking photos and putting the directory together.
“Lifetouch was so wonderful with the older parishioners,” she noted. “They treated them so professionally, so lovingly.”
While Rivard enjoyed working with the various groups of people, she also said that when it came to the creative part of the project — designing the book, putting the names with the faces and such, there were many days she felt overwhelmed.
She even occasionally prayed for help with the project.
Her prayers were answered when the parish hired Jessica Lam Nang as communications coordinator during the early part of last summer.
“She was the answer to my prayers,” said Rivard. “I wish I would have trusted [God] more to start with. Jessica proofread it, put it together and made it look fabulous. She did all the creative work on the directory and sent the book to the publisher in October.”
From the beginning, Rivard felt the directory was an important project as it would allow parishioners to put names and faces together and would hopefully increase fellowship in the parish. It would also be a way for new parishioners to feel an official part of Curé of Ars.
With delivery of the new 150-page directory planned for this month, Rivard is proud of the work put in by all those who helped her, and only wished that even more of the parish’s families would have taken part.
Would she do it again?
“It was a good experience,” Rivard said. “I had never done anything like this before, and I’d be willing to do it again — in five years — when there will be a whole new batch of people to include.”
Rivard said she learned a lot from this project, especially to be more trusting in God.
“If you are doing his work, it will get done,” she said.